The Dryden Observer

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Continued high inflow in region’s lakes and rivers

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

Submitted by the Lake of the Woods Control Board

Inflow to rivers and lakes across the Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario and in Manitoba, including the English River system, remain very high due to the combination of late spring snowmelt and above normal rainfall in May.

Significant rainfall occurred over the past weekend, particularly in the Rainy River drainage basin upstream of Lake of the Woods where rainfall totals of 75 – 125 mm (3-5 in) were reported in many areas. This rainfall will add to the very wet conditions downstream.

Lake of the Woods level is 323.11 m (1060.1 ft), a 65th percentile level (historically the level has been below this point 65% of the time in the first week of June). With the rising inflow from the weekend rainfall, Lake of the Woods level will rise more quickly, likely by more than 10 cm (4 in) over the next week. Outflow from Lake of the Woods through the dams in Kenora is 1000 m³/s, roughly 85% of the maximum possible at the current lake level.

The Winnipeg River immediately below Norman Dam has risen by 2.1 m (6.9 ft) since the low spring level in early April. The level at Minaki has risen by 0.9 m (3.0 ft). All areas along the Winnipeg River are well above the normal range.

Very high levels and inflows are also being experienced on the English River system from Lac Seul and its tributaries near Sioux Lookout downstream to its confluence with the Winnipeg River. The level of Lac Seul is 356.01 m (1168.0 ft), a 70th percentile level. The lake has been rising by between 20-40 cm per week since the start of freshet, with new records set for the rate of flow into the lake for ten days in May. Inflow is now 95th percentile for early June, and the level continues to rise by 20 cm per week. At Hudson, the level is 60 cm (2 ft) higher than the main lake of Lac Seul due to extremely high inflow from Sturgeon River (higher than previously recorded) and the English River above Sioux Lookout. Outflow from Lac Seul has been at 450 m³/s since May 16th.

The English River level at Grassy Narrows is 320.94 m (1053.0 ft), higher than previously recorded in June. This is the second highest year for English River level at Grassy Narrows since the flooding of 1992.

On Nutimik Lake in the Whiteshell in Manitoba, the water level has risen by 1.7 m (5.6 ft) since the last week of April. The 2300 m³/s of water flowing through Nutimik Lake is a 95th percentile flow for the first week of June. Of this, 1450 m³/s is from the combined outflow from Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul, the rest being from other tributaries downstream of these lakes.

Those with shorefront property on these water bodies are encouraged to keep abreast of conditions by visiting the Board’s web site at or by listening to its recorded message at 1-800-661-5922 ex 1.

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