The Latest: Northern Idaho residents warned to expect flood

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Posted: Feb 10, 2017 6:04 PM
The Latest: Northern Idaho residents warned to expect flood

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Latest on flooding in Idaho (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

Officials say an ice jam that was blocking the Weiser River and causing flooding near the Idaho-Oregon border has broken up, allowing the floodwaters to begin to recede.

A flash flood damaged several homes and forced residents to flee to the tops of their cars and roofs to escape the icy waters Friday morning. Emergency workers used a large front-end loader to rescue four adults and five children, along with several horses and other animals, from one property outside of the southwestern Idaho town of Weiser.

Washington County Disaster Services spokesman Steve Penner said two people were still trapped inside their homes by the flood. One man appeared to be unharmed and told officials he didn't want to be rescued. Emergency workers have been unable to make contact with the other man for the last few hours and were unsure of his status on Friday afternoon.

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12 p.m.

Authorities are warning residents in the northern Idaho towns of St. Joseph and St. Maries to expect flooding when an ice jam on the St. Joe River breaks free.

The National Weather Service issued the flood warning for residents near the river in Shoshone County Friday morning. The ice jam has already caused flooding in the upstream town of Calder.

Flood stage is at 13 feet, and by Friday morning the water was at nearly 16½ feet. The flood warning remains in effect until Sunday evening.

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11:15 a.m.

Authorities in eastern Idaho say a Wyoming man was killed in an avalanche Thursday while snowmobiling in the McCoy Creek area.

Sgt. Bryan Lovell with the Bonneville County Sheriff's office said 35-year-old Josh Roth of Alpine, Wyoming, died in the avalanche.

Roth was snowmobiling with a friend when the slide occurred. His companion was able to locate him using an avalanche beacon and dig him out from under two or three feet of snow, but Roth died from injuries obtained in the slide.

Officials say the avalanche danger is high throughout eastern Idaho, the West Central mountains and surrounding areas as high winds, warmer temperatures and rainfall have destabilized the snow pack. The higher temperatures and rainfall have also led to widespread flooding in lower parts of the state.

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10:40 a.m.

Authorities in southwestern Idaho's Washington County say several people have been rescued from the top of a vehicle outside their home after they were trapped by rising floodwaters.

Steve Domby, the county's disaster services coordinator, said Friday that emergency workers used a loader to reach the family, including two young children, at a home near Weiser. The car was surrounded by water and large chunks of floating ice, but the family was able to climb into the loader bucket and be transported to safety.

Domby said rescue efforts were still underway for one man trapped in the same area. He said the man appears to be unharmed but is trapped on the roof of his home, and fire crews and other emergency workers were trying to determine a way to reach him safely.

Weiser is one of several parts of Idaho to face flooding when large amounts of accumulated snow began to rapidly melt as temperatures rose Thursday.

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7:32 a.m.

Warm winter weather is threatening to flood most of Idaho, with southern Idaho already under water.

Warm weather is melting historic snowfall, particularly in the Magic Valley, where a canal was partially breached overnight Thursday, flooding an area near Castleford and Buhl. Several families have been displaced.

Districts in Filer, Buhl and Minidoka County closed schools in the middle of the day Thursday due to the floods. A car that got past a police barricade in Twin Falls County was swept away by violent floodwaters. Roads have been swept away by the rushing water in the area, though no deaths or serious injuries have been reported.

Elsewhere in the state authorities are warning about floods. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Weiser area, Moscow, Pullman and Bonner County.