North Idaho Officials Planning For River Flooding

SILVER VALLEY, IDAHO — The Coeur d’Alene River is well below flood stage, but emergency responders aren’t taking any chances and are planning for flooding along the river.

The river is still eight to 10 feet below flood stage, but emergency responders met Thursday to evaluate the runoff and discuss what to do if the area starts to flood.

“We still have a heck of a lot of snow in the mountains to come down and even lower level snow  isn’t gone yet so, we have significant snow left to melt if the weather cooperates fine, if it doesn’t we’ll be ready,” Shoshone County Sheriff Chuck Reynalds said.

“The national weather service gave us a prediction and said that it looks good, but it’s only a prediction so we’re planning for worst and hoping for the best,” he added.

Emergency responders aren’t the only ones keeping a wary eye on the river. Alvin Carle, 79, has been living along the Coeur d’Alene River for 30 years and he knows that every spring the water will rise up to his front porch.

“I’m just kinda keeping an eye on it,” Carle said. “I just watch it down there because that is where it comes in.”

If the river does flood the county is going to need a lot of sand and sandbags. The county with the help of Homeland Security recently purchased 400 tons of sand, which the county has placed in stockpiles throughout the area. The county also has 25,000 sand bags ready to be filled at a moment’s notice.

If the water crests the banks the Lutheran church in Pinehurst will be the command center.

“I think we’ll have at least 72 hours before we get a flooding event,” Sheriff Reynalds said. “If we see water coming up and the weather crews predicts warm weather rain we won’t hesitate we’ll set it up and activate all the declarations that we have to.”

Alvin Carle is just hoping the water continues to stay below flood stage this spring.

“We’ve been lucky so far. I guess God must have a different way of doing to, slowing it down or something I don’t know,” he said.