Rainy River lifts state of emergency

The Town of Rainy River lifted its state of emergency declaration Friday morning. Despite almost all the flood gates now open at the dam at Fort Frances, the water levels in have dropped by several inches since Wednesday.
“Since 10:30 p.m. Thursday to 8:30 a.m. [Friday], the river has dropped by two inches,” said Rainy River town foreman Bob Jenson. “Since Wednesday at 10:30 p.m., it has dropped 14 inches.”
The flood gates were opened in stages yesterday to accommodate the situation in Rainy River and make the impact of the added inflow as gradual as possible.
At the same time, tributaries to the Rainy River began to subside. In effect, by the time six of the eight flood gates were opened Thursday, water levels at Rainy River saw no increase and, in fact, continued to
recede.
On the other end of the water system, the outflow on Lake of the Woods was increased dramatically yesterday. On Monday, the outflow at the Norman Dam near Kenora was 200 cu. m/s.
That was increased to the maximum outflow possible—1,200 cu. m/s.
Lake of the Woods has risen 23 inches since last weekend as runoff from torrential rains in the watershed arrives there.
Sandbagging ended Thursday afternoon and the town was put in a wait-and-see mode. “There is definitely something to smile about today,” town clerk Deb Bowman said Friday.
Rainy River Mayor Gord Prost said while the town is gathering all the costs associated with fortifying the community and estimates of the damage to the community, especially the sewer system, they also will begin looking at what to do with the dike built along the south side of Rainy River in the past few days.
Many citizens, including those who do not live in the flood plain, have said they think it should be made permanent so the community does not have to rally to defend itself like it did this week for the third
time in five years.
Fortunately, weekend forecast is calling for dry and sunny conditions, and town officials are hoping that trend continues well into next week to allow the river level to subside further.

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