Rainy Lake flooding on track to break all-time records


Rainy Lake water levels are on track to break all previous records, according to the National Weather Service, out of Duluth, MN.

According to its May 25 update, lake levels are now four inches above 2014 levels, and may surpass the previous record, set in 1950.

Rainy Lake is currently at 1111.7 ft (338.85 m), which is 4 inches (11 cm) above the 2014 peak. A rise of 11 to 13 inches (27-33 cm) is expected between May 25 and June 1, with continued through at least mid June. At this rate, Rainy Lake is expected to break the all-time record high level of 1112.95 ft (339.23 m) set in 1950.

“It will take a long time for these levels to decrease once they peak (crest), and those experiencing flooding should be prepared for weeks of high water levels into June,” according to the release.

As of May 25, many of the major tributaries upstream (like Basswood River, Vermilion River, Kawishiwi River) have crested and are beginning to drop. However, this will only slow the rise of Namakan/Kabetogama and Rainy Lake – continued rises are still anticipated in the coming days:

Namakan Lake and Kabetogama Lake are currently at 1122.0 ft (341.99 m), which is 17.7 inches (45 cm) above the 2014 peak level. A rise of 5 to 7 inches (12-19 cm) is expected between May 25 and June 1 with continued rises into mid June possible. At this rate, Namakan Lake will reach the all-time record high level  of 1122.8 ft  (342.24 m) set in 1916.

Sandbagging is ongoing in the town of Fort Frances and surrounding regions. The town is seeking volunteers to assist with sandbagging efforts. Anyone able to help is asked to meet at the municipal yard off 6th Street. Tents have been set up to provide shade to workers.