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Rainy Lake at highest level since ’74

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Today, at 338.15 m (1,109.41 ft.), Rainy Lake has reached its highest level since 1974, when it peaked at about 338.2 m (1,109.58 ft.) in mid-June.

Water levels on the lake passed the 1996 high of 338.1 m (1,109.25 ft.) yesterday when it reached 338.12 m (1,109.32 ft.).

And with in-flows at 1,250 cu. m/s and outflows only at 915 cu. m/s, the level is going to continue to climb—especially with more rain in the forecast for later this week.

“I think we will hit the ’74 mark even if it doesn’t rain,” said Raimo Tyrvainen, energy and utilities co-ordinator for Abitibi-Consolidated here. “How high it goes depends on how much rain it gets.”

Rainy Lake has gone up 2.7 cm (about one inch) since yesterday.

Meanwhile, the high water is beginning to wreak havoc on shoreline properties, especially when it comes to docks.

“They’re going under. We put boards on the docks and put barrels on them but I have some where the ends are under water and some that are three inches under water,” said Tom Pearson, owner of Camp Narrows Lodge on the North Arm of Rainy Lake.

“It’s starting to come up on my lawn and I have walkways and if it comes up any more, they’ll be under, too,” he said. “ By about Thursday, it will be about as high as I’ve seen it in 16 years.”

In some cases, the water is even creeping up the banks and threatening to damage more than docks.

“It’s not very good, it’s still coming up,” said Frank Wepruk, owner of The Fisheries Resort on Bears Pass. “I’m flooding now. I’ve still got another inch or two to go before it’s on my road.

“Pretty much everyone’s already wearing rubber boots around here. Now you pretty much have to wear rubber boots to get to the floating docks.

“I’m hoping it gets hot and evaporates,” he laughed.

Prior to 1974, Rainy Lake reached similar levels but later in the year. In 1964, for instance, it peaked just below today’s level at the end of June while in 1968, it peaked at about 338.37 m (1,110.14 ft.) in mid to late July.

But water levels on Rainy Lake still are nowhere near the all-time record high of 339.23 m (1,112.86 ft.) set in early July of 1950.

Today’s level is 21.6 cm (8.5 inches) above the International Joint Commission’s maximum rule curve of 337.6 m (1,107.61 ft.)

Water levels on Namakan Lake also continue to rise, reaching 341.45 m (1,120 ft.) this morning—about 19.9 cm (7.83 inches) above the IJC rule curve of 340.94 m (1,118.57 ft.).

In-flows on Namakan Lake are 730 cu. m/s while outflows are only at 657 cu. m/s.

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