With warming temperatures and rain expected, we thought we would put together some answers to frequently asked questions concerning the threat of flooding in Nampa.
SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT FLOODING IN NAMPA?
For the most part, no. Many of the recent media reports and concerns are related to the river flooding due to ice dams, on the Boise, Snake and Payette Rivers. Concern has also been expressed from fast snow melt or rain on heavy accumulations of snow. The current forecasts do not indicate a problem in Nampa, but local ponding may occur. However, if you are in a flood plain or flood way on either Indian Creek or Mason Creek, caution is always warranted.
WHAT KIND OF WEATHER SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT?
If Nampa had a torrential rainstorm, for instance, one that approaches 1 inch of rain in an hour, or ongoing heavy rain for several hours there could be problems. If weather were to drastically warm up and melt the snow in less than say 4 hours there could be some concerns because of the total volume of water. However, current forecasts do not indicate these kind of weather patterns.
WHAT IS LOCALIZED FLOODING?
Some call it puddling or ponding. Drainage may be slow in some areas, causing the ponding or pooling of water in rain storms or rapid melting. Ponding is typically what you see on streets.
THERE IS WATER STANDING IN THE STREET. SHOULD I PANIC?
One thing to keep in mind is that curbs, gutters and streets are part of the overall storm drainage system in Nampa. In nearly every storm event, water will be in the curb and possibly on streets. However, should water reach the top of the curb or higher we would like to know. We also want to know if water is completely covering a street or roadway. Likely it is a local problem such as a plugged catch basin, usually blocked by debris or ice, but we still like to check it out. Drivers should always use caution and slow down if you drive through standing water. There could be unseen hazards if something more drastic happens like a broken water or storm line. The Nampa Street Division has staff on call 24 hours a day to address citizen’s concerns.
WHEN SHOULD I CALL FOR HELP?
As mentioned above, if water reaches the top of the curb or goes over the curb, please call or email the Street Department. You can call the Street Division at 468-5831. Street Division's operating hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. If you have an after-hours emergency, please call Nampa Dispatch’s non-emergency number at 465-2257. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org during regular business hours.
HOW DOES THE CITY PREPARE FOR FLOODING?
The city of Nampa pays close attention to flood risks. Trained staff monitors National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data and snow water content. We have crew members who watch locations that are prone to flooding in Nampa. Preventative crews are called in and dispatched, when necessary, to assure that critical storm drain lines and catch basins are open. We notify additional personnel representing key response agencies if the need arises.
WHAT’S ALL THIS TALK ABOUT STORM DRAINS?
Streets are graded (sloped) to direct rain/water to catch basins. The catch basin is the inlet to a storm drain pipe. You can check this map (www.cityofnampa.us/catchbasins) to see if you have catch basins near your home. There may not be a catch basin in your immediate vicinity. You may live at a high point where water is directed by curb and gutter to catch basins at a low point in your neighborhood.
WHERE DOES ALL THIS WATER GO?
Stormwater in Nampa goes several places and the city manages stormwater in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act.
Ponds – Some areas drain to ponds that may or may not drain into the ground quickly. Don’t be surprised if you see standing water in a pond after a storm or snow melt.
Ground – Some areas drain into the ground through facilities called infiltration beds. Infiltration beds are often underground packages of rock that provides drainage as the water enters the soil.
Drains and streams – Some areas drain to streams such as Indian Creek or Mason Creek or drains such as Wilson Drain or Elijah Drain.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Make sure your storm drain/catch basin is free of ice and debris so melting snow and/or rain have a place to go.
IS NAMPA HANDING OUT SAND BAGS?
No, the city does not have sand bags to hand out. The Canyon County Office of Emergency Management recently distributed sand bags when there was a concern about potential flooding. If sand bags are available again, we’ll let you know here on this social media site.