Area lakes and rivers got a much needed charge of water over the weekend, thanks to an early rain and melting snow.
Rain fall totals on Friday and Saturday included 1.24 inch in the Belgrade area; 1.21 inch near Spicer; 1.16 inch near Montevideo; and 1.17 inch near Glenwood, according to readings posted on the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network managed by the National Weather Service.
The increased flow in our rivers was evident at the Churchill dam at the southern end of Lac qui Parle Lake. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers saw flow levels jump on Saturday as the fresh charge of water made its way into the Minnesota River system, according to Randy Mebly, manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Watson.
While the early season rain and melting snowpack may do little to alleviate the agricultural drought, the waters do help area lakes and rivers.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began its seasonal drawdown of Lac qui Parle Lake on March 1. The lake is lowered from an elevation of 934 feet above sea level to 933 feet beginning on March 1 each year. As of Monday afternoon, the drawdown had already brought the lake to 933.22 feet or very near its target. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will attempt to keep the lake at the 933 elevation going forward into the summer, said Melby. The important word here is attempt. The inflow in the lake can exceed the outflow during large rain events or sudden snow melts.
Right now, the weather seems to be in a cool pattern and Melby is anticipating a slow snowmelt in the immediate future.
The increased flow in the Minnesota River was captured on video by Patrick Moore of Clean Up our River Environment. He posted this one minute video of the flow at Minnesota Falls taken over the weekend: bit.ly/12J6qri Customize