Rain Deluge Gives Idaho Growers Hope

Published online: Jun 11, 2004
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Just when it looked like Idaho growers were heading through another hot, dry month, a low pressure system that hung in the area gave growers from Blackfoot to Ashton in the Upper Snake River Valley a pleasant surprise.

A rain storm lasting more than 24 hours from Wednesday night through Thursday dropped from one inch to one-and-one-half inches throughout the area. While it missed southern and western Idaho, the rainfall should help reservoir totals upstream of irrigators in those areas.

Yet despite the bountiful rain, eastern Idaho is still considered in a class D-4 "exceptional" drought, according to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. The remainder of the state, in fact most of the west, remains in a D-3 category of "extreme" drought.

The Center's forecast through August is for the drought to intensify. This includes the entire states of Utah, Nevada and Wyoming, and parts of southern California, southeast Oregon, southern and eastern Idaho, southern Montana, western Nebraska, most of Colorado, northwest New Mexico and the northern half of Arizona.

Timing of the storm and the amount of rain fall has been declared very rare for the Upper Snake River area, with total moisture surpassing even the heaviest snow fall total last winter.

Many non-pump irrigators in Idaho have already been told their water will last through mid-August at best as  reservoir totals continue to shrink. Some canal companies already have conservation programs in place, alternating water  in a canal systems for 10 days and then holding it back for 10 days.

Rain fall totals from Blackfoot into southern Idaho growing areas were very light from this storm.