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Rainy Lake, August 28, 2022. Image: Randy Thoms/Acadia Broadcasting

Normal to below normal precipitation forecast for basin

By Randy Thoms Apr 26, 2024 | 4:53 AM

Weather forecasters are suggesting normal to below-normal precipitation for the next few months.

The agency overseeing lake levels in the Rainy Lake basin hopes it will be a wet spring.

The International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board’s Water Levels Committee directed dam operators to keep levels on Rainy and Namakan Lakers at the high end of their respective targets set for this time of year.

The directive remains in place until the end of the month.

Alexandra Lavictoire of the International Joint Commission says it will be weather that dictates what further action will be required.

“Spring rainfall will be needed to sustain inflows to the major lakes and maintain levels within the rural curves. And I guess at this point, we can wait and see what the spring brings, and hopefully some wet weather at Rainy Lake,” says Lavictoire.

Steve Gonde of the National Weather Service says some modelling hints at some big storms.

“I have seen some weather models that are showing that these Colorado lows or lows coming from the west are trying to drag some Gulf of Mexico moisture northward, which is pretty much required for us to get heavy precipitation during this time of year,” says Gonde.

“It does look like those models are kind of bringing things across fairly quickly. They’re progressive storms, but the confidence I have in those longer-range models is low.”

The lake’s level will remain near the top of the rule curve that sets a range of levels until the end of the month.