April 2022

Issued 2022.04.30

With additional rainfall from another Colorado Low this weekend, the next outflow increase from Lake of the Woods has been scheduled for Sunday, May 1. Lake of the Woods outflow will be increased from 925 m³/s to 1025 m³/s. The Winnipeg River is expected to rise as follows in response to the outflow increase, with additional temporary rise likely due to local runoff and rainfall:

Below Norman Dam: 30 cm (12 in)
Above Kimberley Rapids: 24 cm (10 in)
Winnipeg River Marina: 24 cm (10 in)
Near Locke Bay: 23 cm (9 in)
Above Myrtle Rapids: 22 cm (9 in)
Above the Dalles: 22 cm (9 in)
Above Throat Rapids: 23 cm (9 in)
Minaki: 19 cm (8 in)

With Sunday’s increase, outflow is estimated to be at 92% of maximum capacity. Maximum outflow capacity is limited by the lake level, which provides the pressure to push water out of the lake and past Norman Dam. As the lake continues to rise, outflow will also gradually rise as will the level of the Winnipeg River.

The LWCB will meet again on Monday, May 2 to review the latest conditions and forecasts and evaluate further outflow increases.

Issued 2022.04.28

Flows in many areas of the Rainy-Lake of the Woods basin remain exceptionally high for the end of April. However, some major rivers, including the Big Fork and Little For Rivers in Minnesota and Rainy River, have crested and are declining. With dry weather, flows are expected to continue to decline but will still be very high. Wet weather could stall the drop in flows or have them climbing again. Most current weather forecasts indicate limited rainfall for the next week.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.85 m (1059.2 ft), a 75th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 25 cm (10 in) over the past week and is projected rise 15-25 cm (6-10 in) over the next week. This projection is based on current 7-day precipitation forecasts and expected outflow adjustments from Rainy Lake. Higher rainfall totals or higher outflows could see greater rise in the lake level.

The LWCB met this week to review the extreme conditions and evaluate further outflow increases from Lake of the Woods. It has directed a further outflow increase tomorrow and will reassess the need for additional increases on Monday, May 2.

Lake of the Woods outflow is scheduled to be increased on Friday, April 29 from 825 m³/s to 925 m³/s. The level of the Winnipeg River is expected to rise as follows as a result of this outflow increase:

Below Norman Dam: 30 cm (12 in)
Above Kimberley Rapids: 24 cm (10 in)
Winnipeg River Marina: 23 cm (9 in)
Near Locke Bay: 23 cm (9 in)
Above Myrtle Rapids: 22 cm (9 in)
Above the Dalles: 21 cm (8 in)
Above Throat Rapids: 22 cm (9 in)
Minaki: 20 cm (8 in)

The current level of Lac Seul is 354.91 m (1164.4 ft), a 55th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 10 cm (4 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 6-10 cm (2-4 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is scheduled to be increased from 150 to 225 m³/s on Friday, April 29.

Issued 2022.04.26

Rainfall totals from last weekend’s Colorado Low were very high for this time of year, with the highest amounts around Rainy Lake. This is the sixth straight quarter-month period with well-above normal precipitation in the Rainy-Namakan and Lake of the Woods local sub-basins, making this April one of the wettest on record. With the most recent rainfall coming on snow and frozen ground, the rise in flows in tributaries across the region has been rapid.

Left: 2022 April 1-24 Total Precipitation Right: Normal April Precipitation April 1-2014 (1986-2015)

The LWCB was informed that outflow from the Rainy Lake dam at Fort Frances-International Falls into the Rainy River is being maximized in response to the heavy rainfall in that area and rapidly rising Rainy Lake. Tributaries to the Rainy River, including the Big Fork River, Little Fork River, Rapid River, La Vallee River and Pinewood River are near to or have broken record high levels for April. The combination of very high flows out of Rainy Lake and from these tributaries has inflow to Lake of the Woods from the Rainy River at an extremely high rate. Additional runoff from around the lake is also contributing to a rapid rise in the lake level.

Most of the tributaries to Rainy River have either crested or appear to close to cresting for now, with several days of dry weather in the forecast. However, inflow to Lake of the Woods will remain very high and the lake will continue to rise quickly as a result.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.77 m (1058.7 ft), a 70th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 18 cm (7 in) over the past week and is projected rise 25-35 cm (10-14 in) over the next week. This projection is based on current 7-day precipitation forecasts and expected outflow adjustments from Rainy Lake. Higher rainfall totals or higher outflows could see greater rise in the lake level.

Lake of the Woods outflow was increased from 650 to 725 m³/s on Monday, April 25. Outflow is scheduled to be increased from 725 m³/s to 825 m³/s on Wednesday, April 27. The Winnipeg River is expected to rise as follows in response to this outflow increase, with additional rise possible from local runoff:

  • Below Norman Dam : 30 cm (12 in)
  • Above Kimberley Rapids : 24 cm (10 in)
  • Winnipeg River Marina: 21 cm (8 in)
  • Near Locke Bay: 21 cm (8 in)
  • Above Myrtle Rapids: 21 cm (8 in)
  • Above the Dalles: 20 cm (8 in)
  • Above Throat Rapids: 21 cm (8 in)
  • Minaki: 21 cm (8 in)

Further increases in outflow will follow in the coming days and will be posted on this Notice Board.

The current level of Lac Seul is 354.90 m (1164.4 ft), a 50th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 9 cm (4 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 2-7 cm (1-3 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 150 m³/s. An outflow increase is being planned for Friday, April 29. Details will be provided on this Notice Board.

Issued 2022.04.21

Recent precipitation has been well above normal across the Winnipeg River watershed. However, due to cold temperatures most of this has been snowfall and there has only been a gradual increase in stream flows in some areas. With temperatures rising and rainfall forecast through the weekend, the LWCB expects basin flow conditions to rapidly change over the next week, leading to quickly rising water levels in many areas. Due to the potential for rapidly changing flow conditions and unstable ice cover, extra caution should be taken when on or near water bodies across the region.

This rain on snow is expected to cause inflow to Lake of the Woods to rise to an extremely high rate, with the latest lake level forecasts showing between 15-30 cm of lake level rise over the next week. Because the lake was drawn down over the winter to create storage room for the spring melt, a 30 cm water level rise will not result in a high lake level. However, such a rapid filling of the lake would leave limited buffer room for wet conditions later in the spring when the region typically sees the wettest weather of the year.

In response, the LWCB is directing larger outflow increases from Lake of the Woods this week and next. The level of the Winnipeg River will rise quickly due to these outflow increases together with local runoff from rain and melting snow. By next week, the Winnipeg River level is expected to be at a high level for the end of April, comparable to a moderately high June level. The higher outflow will help to conserve storage room in the lake, reducing the risk of high levels on Lake of the Woods and along the Winnipeg River should wet conditions continue.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.58 m (1058.3 ft), a 50th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 9 cm (4 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by 15-30 cm (6-12 in) over the next week with the rapid rise in inflow.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is scheduled to be increased from 575 m³/s to 650 m³/s on Friday, April 22 and from 650 m³/s to 725 m³/s on Monday, April 25. Each of these outflow increases is expected to raise the level of the Winnipeg River as follows:

  • Below Norman Dam: 18 cm (7 in)
  • Above Kimberley Rapids: 18 cm (7 in)
  • Winnipeg River Marina: 15 cm (6 in)
  • Near Locke Bay: 15 cm (6 in)
  • Above Myrtle Rapids: 15 cm (6 in)
  • Above the Dalles: 14 cm (5.5 in)
  • Above Throat Rapids: 14 cm (5.5 in)
  • Minaki: no change from the first flow increase, 2 cm (1 in) from the second

Additional short-term river level rise is expected due to local runoff from rainfall and snowmelt.

Further outflow increases are likely next week. Details for these outflow changes will be provided on this Notice Board.

The current level of Lac Seul is 354.81m (1164.1 ft), a 45th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by 15-25 cm (6-10 in) over the next week.

Lac Seul authorized outflow is scheduled to be increased from 100 m³/s to 150 m³/s on Friday, April 22.

Issued 2022.04.19

April continues to see very high precipitation amounts and flows are quickly rising across many areas of the watershed. Cold temperatures over the past week have slowed the spring melt response. However, warmer temperatures with additional rainfall this week will see flows rising much more quickly.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.56 m (1058.3 ft), a 50th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 9 cm (4 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by 15-20 cm (6-8 in) over the next week with the rapid rise in inflow.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is scheduled to be increased from 500 m³/s to 575 m³/s on Wednesday April 20. The Winnipeg River level immediately below Norman Dam will rise by approximately 18 cm (7 in) as a result of this flow increase. The river level rise will be less with distance downstream of Kenora with no effect expected at Minaki.

An additional outflow increase is likely on Friday, April 22, with further increases to follow next week. Details for these outflow changes will be provided on this Notice Board .

The current level of Lac Seul is 354.79 m (1164.0 ft), a 40th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by 12-22 cm (5-9 in) over the next week.

Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m³/s with no changes currently scheduled.

Issued 2022.04.14

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.50 m (1058.1 ft), a 45th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level increased by 4.9 cm (1.9 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by 6-13 cm (2.4-5.1 in) over the next week.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 500 m³/s with no changes currently scheduled.

The current level of Lac Seul is 354.76 m (1163.9 ft), a 40th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level increased by 4.8 cm (1.9 in) over the past week and is expected to increase 7-13 cm (2.7-5.1 in) over the next week.

Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m³/s with no changes currently scheduled.

Issued 2022.04.07

The spring freshet is underway for many areas of the Winnipeg River drainage basin. Precipitation over the past few days has added to the water content of the snowpack and resulted in a slow rise in flows in many tributaries.

7-day Observed Precipitation. Data Source: Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Regional Deterministic Precipitation Analysis

The LWCB is regulating outflows from Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods to begin refill of these lakes according to its recently adopted Regulation Strategy. The rate of lake level rise and the associated changes in outflow from these lakes will depend largely on the precipitation received over the coming weeks.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.44 m (1057.9 ft), a 35th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level was stable over the past week and is expected to rise by 3-6 cm (1-2 in) over the next week. Meteorological forecasts indicate the potential for above-normal April precipitation from April 13-14. If this develops, the lake will rise at a faster rate.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is scheduled to be increased from 450 m³/s to 475 m³/s on Friday, April 8 and to 500 m³/s on Monday, April 11. The level of the Winnipeg River immediately below Norman Dam is expected to rise by 6 cm (2 in) as a result of each of these flow increases, while the river level at Minaki will not be affected. Additional flow increases next week are likely if precipitation forecasts are accurate.

The current level of Lac Seul is 354.70 m (1163.7 ft), a 40th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 1 cm (1/2 in) the past week and is expected to rise by 5-8 cm (2-3 in) over the next week.

Lac Seul authorized outflow was reduced from 125 m³/s to 100 m³/s on Tuesday, April 5. No flow changes are currently scheduled.