Important messages for this week:
- Spring Lake water level started dropping over the weekend – digital gauge readings affected by ice
- Lake levels do not rise as quickly as river levels
- Prior Lake Outlet Structure low-flow gate is fully open; water is discharging from Prior Lake
- City is following its Flood Response Policy
The City of Prior Lake and Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) staff are continuing to monitor local conditions such as winter snowpack, precipitation, and lake levels to assess flooding risk. The potential for snow or rain continues to be watched closely.
The snowpack in the watershed above Spring Lake and Prior Lake continues to be reduced due to warmer temperatures; however, night temperatures below freezing has slowed down the melt, which is desirable. Those warmer temperatures will continue this week and there is a slight amount of rain in the forecast. The water level of Prior Lake was 903.67 on the morning of March 25. This level is a few inches below the Ordinary High Water (OHW) elevation of 903.9 and over two feet below the highest recorded level of 906.17 in June 2014. Prior Lake is discharging through the Prior Lake Outlet Channel.
Spring Lake’s water level was 912.01, or about 10 inches below its OHW of 912.8 and about 2 feet below the highest recorded level of 913.94 in June 2014. Spring Lake appears to have peaked around 912.2 on Friday, March 22. Note that the digital gauge on Spring Lake has been strongly affected by the thick lake ice, so the measurements online have been inaccurate at least since March 19, 2019. City and PLSLWD staff are manually measuring the lake level daily to monitor changes. The Prior Lake digital gauge is unaffected by ice at this time.
Just a reminder regarding flooding news throughout the state– rivers can rise rapidly and potentially dangerous conditions can develop in a matter of a few hours. Lake systems are not as “flashy” as river systems, rising and falling more slowly, thus allowing us more time to prepare for high-water conditions. The City’s Flood Response Policy outlines the City’s planned responses to local flooding based on Prior Lake and Spring Lake reaching certain water levels.