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Flood warning still in effect

May 28, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

A flood warning remains in place through the weekend for the Wind River near Dubois and Riverton.

According to the National Weather Service, "very warm" afternoon temperatures Wednesday and Thursday are expected to cause "excessive" snowmelt runoff along the upper Wind River Basin through Friday.

The snowmelt will lead to "sharp rises" Thursday through Saturday along the Wind River from Dubois to Riverton.

Upstream, NWS officials predict the river will rise to 5.2 feet early Thursday morning, fluctuating between 5 feet and 5.2 feet Friday through Saturday.

The flood stage is set at 5 feet. At that point, minor, low-level flooding becomes possible upstream and downstream, and low areas in Dubois tend to flood.

At 5.5 feet, low land flooding usually intensifies and becomes more widespread in and around Dubois.

The "bank full" stage happens at 4.5 feet.

Officials said the Wind River in the Dubois area last hit 5.2 feet on June 18, 2013.

Around Riverton, the Wind is expected be at or near flood stage by Wednesday evening or Thursday and could remain at that level for several days.

"You should monitor later forecasts and be alert for possible flood warnings," NWS hydrologist Jim Fahey said in a statement Tuesday. "Those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop."

Residents are cautioned to avoid driving through flooded areas. Fahey said people should not attempt to cross streams and creeks during the late afternoon and early evening.

"Creek and streams will be at their highest at those times," he said. "Pay attention to the weather and to creek and stream levels. Do not get close to flooded creeks and streams. ... Just move to higher ground."

In a separate statement, the NWS said isolated thunderstorms this week could bring breezy or windy conditions that can increase fire behavior in lower elevations and cause additional, localized flooding.

Residents are asked to report hail, thunderstorms, wind gusts of 50 mph or stronger, rainfall amounts and any observed flooding risks to the NWS at 857-3898.

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