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Flooding concern high in North Idaho

A flash flood watch is in effect for Benewah and Shoshone counties in North Idaho due to a build up of ice on the St. Joe River, according to the National Weather Service. Communities near the river, including St. Maries, are in danger of sudden flooding if the ice jam is not broken up.

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed a disaster declaration to provide assistance to Benewah County which will help with funding to hire commercial ice breakers.

In addition to St. Maries, bridges, roads, private residences, municipal water supplies, the municipal sewage lagoon and farmlands are also threatened, said Idaho National Guard Lt. Col. Tim Marsano.

The flash flood watch and a flood warning for North Idaho remain in effect until 11 tonight, according to the weather service.

Temperatures cooling into the lower 30s and mid 20s will help slow the snow melt off and reduce flooding conditions throughout the Inland Northwest, officials said.

For today, enjoy the dry weather because a new storm is expected to move into the area Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning with the possibility of more snow, weather officials said. So far, it appears that North Idaho will see the brunt of the storm. Spokane could receive up to 2 inches of snow. Coeur d’Alene could see more. The temperatures will remain in the upper 30s for highs and mid 20s for the lows.

On Tuesday, the area could be basking in sunlight. The rest of the week is forecast to be dry and mild.