Idaho storms cause mudslides, house fire, floods

AP News
Posted: Sep 06, 2013 1:44 PM
Idaho storms cause mudslides, house fire, floods

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Crews worked to clear a mudslide Friday and homeowners dug out property after severe thunderstorms swept across southwestern Idaho.

The storms hit Thursday afternoon, causing flash flooding in Oakley, dropping golf ball-sized hail near Mountain Home and creating a mudslide on Idaho Highway 55 between Banks and Smiths Ferry. Residents of a home in Eagle escaped unharmed after their house was struck by lightning and caught fire. Meanwhile, Idaho Power crews had to respond to multiple outages in Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Star and other areas.

Larry Adams, a ranch owner from Oakley, said the flooding at his property lasted less than an hour, with silt- and mud-laden water pouring out of the foothills and leaving behind more than a foot of dirt and debris in many of his workshops and ranch buildings.

"I've been here since 1973, and I've never seen anything like this," Adams said.

Surrounding farm fields were strewn with debris in the aftermath of the rushing water.

"Luckily, the fields have already been put to bed and harvested, or else we'd have a whole other mess to deal with," Adams said.

In the Boise suburb of Eagle, a home caught fire after it was struck by lightning. The homeowners were able to get out unharmed.

And the Idaho Transportation Department said mudslides forced the closures of Idaho Highway 55, along with the Banks to Lowman Road between Highway 55 and Garden Valley. Officials were unsure how long it would take to clear and re-open the roads, and suggested that drivers heading north take highway 95 as an alternate route.

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The National Weather Service in Boise said it received reports of golf ball-sized hail, mainly along the Ada County line and along Idaho 55 toward Horseshoe Bend. The highest recorded windspeed in Boise on Thursday was 41 mph, with a gust of 51 mph also recorded.

The National Weather Service says Idaho will get a break from stormy weather, with cooler, drier conditions expected through the weekend and temperatures expected to hover around 80 degrees in the Boise region.