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Flood predicted for Wind River on Wednesday

May 27, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

The National Weather Service expects the Wind River to flood Wednesday near Riverton and Dubois and to continue to do so through the weekend. It issues a flood warning for the areas through Friday morning.

Forecasts for the river at the bridge of Wyoming Highway 789 show the water rising through Wednesday to peak Thursday night at about 10.4 feet. It should remain in the minor flood stage, between 9 and 11 feet, through Sunday, forecasters predict. On Tuesday morning, it stood at 8.17 feet.

"Very warm mountain afternoon temperatures Tuesday through Thursday will cause excessive snowmelt runoff," a release stated. "The excessive snowmelt runoff will cause area streams and rivers to flow at very high levels."

The river's banks are full at 8 feet, and at 9 feet both banks of the river upstream of Highway 789's bridge over the river in Riverton should flood as do areas downstream of Riverton in the Hidden Valley and Black Bridge areas, according to the NWS.

Officials stated at 10 feet, areas west of Highway 789 would flood but the road should stay open, and the previous flooding worsens.

"Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop," the release warned.

The 2011 flood peaked at 11.8 feet, and, for those who can remember, the NWS advised this year's flooding should compare to the 10.4 feet seen in 1924.

NWS paints a similar picture for Dubois.

On Tuesday morning, it was at 4.97 feet, just short of the 5-foot level where minor flooding starts. Forecasts show it climbing to reach 5.4 feet by Sunday evening.

At 4.5 feet, the banks are full, according to NWS, and at 5 feet low areas of Dubois could flood.

In 1974, the river in Dubois peaked at 5.42 feet, but the record was set in 1956 at 5.66 feet. More recently, 2011 saw the water reach 5.65 feet.

The Wind River at the U.S. Highway 26 bridge below Diversion Dam had climbed to 5.39 feet by Tuesday morning and looked to be on an upswing. NWS did not issue a forecast for that area, however.

Forecast for the Wind River near Crowheart and Kinnear and the Little Wind River near Riverton showed water approaching but not entering the flood stage through the end of the week.

All water gauges on the

Popo Agie drainage so far show water levels below the bank-full levels, and NWS issued no alerts for that area.

The agency recommends residents monitor further forecasts and look for more alerts. It advised against crossing rivers and streams in the afternoons and evenings when water levels tend to peak for the day.

"Do not get close to flooded rivers and streams. Just move to higher ground," the agency recommended.

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