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2022.06.03 Lake Level Forecasts

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.93 m (1062.8 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 11 cm (4 in) over past week. The lake level has risen above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950. The dams in Kenora remain fully open and no additional actions can be taken to limit lake level rise.

The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 3-6 cm (1-2 in) over the next 7 days, the rate depending on the rainfall received across the region. Should weather be favourable, a peak may be reached by mid-June followed by a gradual drop. However, a return to normal summer levels will likely take many weeks, and will be delayed should there be a return to wet weather.

As the lake continues to rise, the outflow from the lake will very gradually rise. This should result in the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki also gradually rising, with any local precipitation adding temporarily to levels in this stretch of the river. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 1-2 cm (1 in).

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.70 m (1170.3 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is very high, resulting in a rise of 16 cm (6 in) over the past week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 800 m³/s with no changes currently scheduled.

The main body of Lac Seul is expected to rise by 9-12 cm (4-5 in) over the next 7 days with the rate of rise slowing if drier weather lasts through the forecast period. The level at Hudson appear to be cresting and may begin to decline if the drier weather continues.

Manitoba Hydro has provided the following forecast information for the Winnipeg River in Manitoba.

Lake Level Forecasts 2022-06-01

Record precipitation over the past two months has been observed in all sub-watershed regions except for Lac La Croix and Rainy-Namakan, where 2014 was slightly greater. The inflows to these lakes, however, have been much higher in 2022 due to the later snowmelt in April and continued above-normal precipitation almost every week for the past two months.

Sub-Watershed Average Precipitation Records April 1-May 31

This precipitation has led to the development of record flows in most areas of the entire Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota. In addition to damages such as road and bridge washouts in many areas, damage to shorelines and shoreline structures is occurring across the region on both small and large rivers and lakes. Many communities have declared states of emergency with homes, businesses, and community infrastructure such as sewage treatment plants at risk. This is a full regional flooding event that is without precedent on record, and beyond the capacity of any dams in the system to manage. Many water level gauges across the region have reported new records for lake and river water levels and river flows.

Record water levels (in red) and lake inflows for April-May across the Winnipeg River basin as well as regions with declared state of emergency

Total inflow from April 1-May 31 set a new record for all of the major lakes in the Winnipeg River drainage basin (Namakan Lake, Rainy Lake, Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul).

April-May Inflow Records for Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul

Rainfall over the past several days once again saw a rise in tributary flows in many areas.

Precipitation May 25-May 31 – Source: Canadian Precipitation Analysis

This added water will further delay a return to normal water levels, which could be many weeks out for most areas of the watershed.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.89 m (1062.6 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 10 cm (4 in) over past week. The lake level has risen above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950.

The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 9-12 cm (4-5 in) over the next 7 days, the rate depending on the rainfall received across the region. With drier weather the rate of rise should slow, but timing of the peak will depend on rainfall this month. Lake of the Woods water levels will likely remain above the Legislated Operating Range for many weeks. Record lake levels are possible and will depend on rainfall across the watershed in the next couple of weeks.

As the lake continues to rise, the outflow from the lake will very gradually rise. This should result in the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki also gradually rising, with any local precipitation adding temporarily to levels in this stretch of the river. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 2-4 cm (1-2 in).

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.64 m (1170.1 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is very high, resulting in a rise of 17 cm (7 in) over the past week. The lake is nearing the Flood Reserve, a range of water levels above the normal operating range defined by federal Order-in-Council that corresponds to a key level for dam safety concern for the Ear Falls dam. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 800 m³/s with no changes currently scheduled. The outflow has risen in recent days with lake level rise, but will be reduced to 800 m³/s on June 2.

The main body of Lac Seul is expected to rise by 11-14 cm (4-6 in) over the next 7 days with the rate of rise slowing if drier weather lasts through the forecast period.

2022.05.30 Lake Level Forecasts

Extremely high flow conditions are occurring across many areas of the Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota following record high precipitation since the start of April and early May. While flows in most natural rivers in the basin are dropping, many remain above previous all-time records. Forecasts indicate that inflows to all major lakes will rise for 2-3 days in response to the early week precipitation before falling again. Water levels will remain high for at least several weeks across most areas of the drainage basin even with dry conditions. Wet weather will prolong the duration of high water levels.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.85 m (1062.5 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 9 cm (4 in) over past week. The lake level has risen above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950.

The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 15-21 cm (6-8 in) over the next 7 days, the rate depending on the rainfall received on Monday and Tuesday as a series of thunderstorms and showers pass through the region. Continued rise beyond the 7-day forecast window is expected though the rate of rise should slow with drier weather. The timing of the peak cannot be predicted at this point and will depend on rainfall. Lake of the Woods water levels will likely remain above the Legislated Operating Range for many weeks. Record lake levels are possible and will depend on rainfall across the watershed in the next couple of weeks.

As the lake continues to rise, the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki is also expected to rise, though recently the level of Minaki has declined slightly, likely due to local tributary decline. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 2-4 cm (1-2 in). This estimate is approximate given uncertainty in the local flows entering the river from tributary areas and the rainfall on Monday and Tuesday. The river will continue to gradually rise as long as Lake of the Woods continues to rise and daily fluctuations, up or down, are possible depending on how prevailing winds affect the local level of Lake of the Woods above the dams.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.60 m (1169.9 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is very high, resulting in a rise of 19 cm (8 in) over the past week. The lake is nearing the Flood Reserve, a range of water levels above the normal operating range defined by federal Order-in-Council that corresponds to a key level for dam safety concern for the Ear Falls dam. To avoid exceeding this range , additional outflow increases took place last weekend, with outflow now at 827m³/s. This is a very high outflow, last reached in 2008. Depending on the rainfall totals early this week, further increases are possible and will be announced on this Notice Board.

The main body of Lac Seul is expected to rise by 15-22 cm (6-9 in) over the next 7 days. Higher or lower rainfall amounts then currently forecast could see a rise outside of this forecast range.

2022.05.27 Lake Level Forecasts

Extremely high flow conditions are occurring across many areas of the Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota following record high precipitation since the start of April and early May. While flows in most natural rivers in the basin are dropping, many remain above previous all-time records. Forecasts indicate that inflows to all major lakes will continue to be exceptionally high, but falling, through the weekend until additional rainfall arrives arrives late Sunday into Monday. The response of rivers to this system will depend on rain, how much falls and where. Water levels will remain high for at least several weeks across most areas of the drainage basin even with dry conditions. Wet weather will prolong the duration of high water levels.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.81 m (1062.4 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 11 cm (4 in) over past week. The lake level has risen above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950.

The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 7-15 cm (3-6 in) over the next 7 days, the rate depending on the rainfall received. Inflow to Lake of the Woods is expected to continue to fall until the rainfall beginning on Sunday, followed by a brief rise, then a return to falling flows. There is the possibility of much higher rainfall over this period, which would cause inflows to rise sharply. Continued rise beyond the 7-day forecast window is expected. The timing of the peak cannot be predicted at this point and will depend on rainfall. Lake of the Woods water levels will likely remain above the Legislated Operating Range for many weeks. Record lake levels are possible and will depend on rainfall across the watershed in the next couple of weeks.

The level of Lake of the Woods is above the top of the Legislated Operating Range, 323.47 m (1061.25 ft). The International Lake of the Woods Control Board has been activated and is working with the Canadian Lake of the Woods Control Board to approve any actions taken with respect to Lake of the Woods. Under Canada-US Treaty, upon reaching a lake level of 323.39 m (1061.0 ft), outflow from the lake must be regulated to avoid exceeding a level of 323.85 m (1062.5 ft). The dams in Kenora have been fully opened since the level of the lake was at an elevation of 323.24 m (1060.5 ft). No additional actions can be taken by the Boards to limit the rate of lake rise, which will depend on rainfall over the coming weeks.

Lake of the Woods Legislated Operating Range and Flood Limit

As the lake continues to rise, the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki will also rise. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 2-4 cm (1-2 in). This estimate is approximate given uncertainty in the local flows entering the river from tributary areas and the weekend rainfall. The river will continue to gradually rise as long as Lake of the Woods continues to rise and daily fluctuations, up or down, are possible depending on how prevailing winds affect the local level of Lake of the Woods above the dams.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.54 m (1169.7 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is extremely high, resulting in a rise of 37 cm (15 in) over the past week. The lake is nearing the Flood Reserve, a range of water levels above the normal operating range defined by federal Order-in-Council that corresponds to a key level for dam safety concern for the Ear Falls dam. To avoid exceeding this range , additional outflow increases took place last weekend, with outflow now at 802 m³/s. This is a very high outflow, last reached in 2008. An additional outflow increase, to 850 m³/s, that was scheduled for Friday, May 27 was canceled. However, depending on the upcoming rainfall, further increases are possible over the next week and will be announced on this Notice Board.

The main body of Lac Seul is expected to rise by 15-25 cm (6-10 in) over the next 7 days. Higher or lower rainfall amounts then currently forecast could see a rise outside of this forecast range.

The flow increases from Lac Seul that took place last weekend will take some time to work down the English River, with an estimate of about two weeks to reach Nutimik Lake.

Manitoba Hydro has provided the following information on the Winnipeg River through the Whiteshell.

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2022.05.25 Lake Level Forecasts

Record flow conditions are occurring across many areas of the Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota following record high precipitation since the start of April and early May. Forecasts indicate that inflows to all major lakes will continue to be exceptionally high, but falling, for several days until additional precipitation arrives this weekend. Many natural tributaries across the region have crested with some now falling, but it is unlikely that they will return to normal flows this month. Water levels will remain high for at least several weeks across most areas of the basin as a result. Wet weather will prolong the duration of high water levels.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.79 m (1062.3 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 14 cm (5.5 in) over past week. The lake level has risen above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950.

The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 6-13 cm (2-5 in) over the next 7 days, the rate depending on the rainfall received. Inflow to Lake of the Woods is expected to continue to fall until the weekend’s rainfall, followed by a brief rise, then a return to falling flows. There is the possibility of much higher rainfall over this period, which would cause inflows to rise sharply. Continued rise beyond the 7-day forecast window is expected. The timing of the peak cannot be predicted at this point and will depend on rainfall. Lake of the Woods water levels will likely remain above the Legislated Operating Range for many weeks. Record lake levels are possible and will depend on rainfall across the watershed in the next couple of weeks.

The level of Lake of the Woods is above the top of the Legislated Operating Range, 323.47 m (1061.25 ft). The International Lake of the Woods Control Board has been activated and is working with the Canadian Lake of the Woods Control Board to approve any actions taken with respect to Lake of the Woods. Under Canada-US Treaty, upon reaching a lake level of 323.39 m (1061.0 ft), outflow from the lake must be regulated to avoid exceeding a level of 323.85 m (1062.5 ft). The dams in Kenora have been fully opened since the level of the lake was at an elevation of 323.24 m (1060.5 ft). No additional actions can be taken by the Boards to limit the rate of lake rise, which will depend on rainfall over the coming weeks.

Lake of the Woods Legislated Operating Range and Flood Limit

As the lake continues to rise, the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki will also rise. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 3-5 cm (1-2 in). This estimate is approximate given uncertainty in the local flows entering the river from tributary areas and the weekend rainfall. The river will continue to gradually rise as long as Lake of the Woods continues to rise and daily fluctuations, up or down, are possible depending on how prevailing winds affect the local level of Lake of the Woods above the dams.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.49 m (1169.6 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is extremely high, resulting in a rise of 37 cm (15 in) over the past week. The lake is nearing the Flood Reserve, a range of water levels above the normal operating range defined by federal Order-in-Council that corresponds to a key level for dam safety concern for the Ear Falls dam. To avoid exceeding this range , additional outflow increases took place over the past weekend, with outflow now at 810 m³/s. This is a very high outflow, last reached in 2008. An additional outflow increase, to 850 m³/s, is scheduled for Friday, May 27 with further increases possible over the next week.

The LWCB recognizes that downstream areas along the English River, including Pakwash LakeGrassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong, and the Winnipeg River in Manitoba are already experiencing extremely high and damaging water levels, with many areas well above previous records. States of emergency have been declared in several communities with evacuations underway. The Board’s decision to increase flows out of Lac Seul is to address a significant risk of requiring much higher outflows towards the end of May and early June once Lac Seul reaches the top of the Flood Reserve. High outflows from Lac Seul in the near term reduce the risk of extremely high, possibly record-breaking outflows, in the medium term.

These flow increases from Lac Seul will take some time to work down the English River, with an estimate of about two weeks to reach Nutimik Lake.

2022.05.23 Lake Level Forecasts

Record flow conditions are occurring across many areas of the Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota following record high precipitation since the start of April and early May. Forecasts indicate that inflows to all major lakes will continue to be exceptionally high, but falling, for the 7-day forecast period. Many natural tributaries across the region have crested with some now falling, but it is unlikely that they will return to normal flows this month. Water levels will remain high for at least several weeks across most areas of the basin as a result. Wet weather will prolong the duration of high water levels.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.76 m (1062.2 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 16 cm (6 in) over past week.

The level of Lake of the Woods is above the top of the Legislated Operating Range, 323.47 m (1061.25 ft). The International Lake of the Woods Control Board has been activated and is working with the Canadian Lake of the Woods Control Board to approve any actions taken with respect to Lake of the Woods. Under Canada-US Treaty, upon reaching a lake level of 323.39 m (1061.0 ft), outflow from the lake must be regulated to avoid exceeding a level of 323.85 m (1062.5 ft). The dams in Kenora have been fully opened since the level of the lake was at an elevation of 323.24 m (1060.5 ft). No additional actions can be taken by the Boards to limit the rate of lake rise, which will depend on rainfall over the coming weeks.

Lake of the Woods Legislated Operating Range and Flood Limit

The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 10-13 cm (4-5 in) over the next 7 days. Inflow is expected to decrease over this period, but still remain greater than the outflow from the fully opened dams. Continued rise beyond the 7-day forecast window is expected. The timing of the peak cannot be predicted at this point and will depend on rainfall. Lake of the Woods water levels will likely remain above the Legislated Operating Range for many weeks. Record lake levels are possible if wet weather returns in the Rainy-Lake of the Woods watershed.

As the lake continues to rise, the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki will also rise. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 5-8 cm (2-3 in). This estimate is approximate given uncertainty in the local flows entering the river from tributary areas. The river will continue to gradually rise as long as Lake of the Woods continues to rise and daily fluctuations, up or down, are possible depending on how prevailing winds affect the local level of Lake of the Woods above the dams.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.43 m (1169.4 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is extremely high, resulting in a rise of 45 cm (1.5 ft) over the past week. The lake is nearing the Flood Reserve, a range of water levels above the normal operating range defined by federal Order-in-Council that corresponds to a key level for dam safety concern for the Ear Falls dam. To avoid exceeding this range , additional outflow increases took place over the weekend, with outflow now at 810 m³/s. This is a very high outflow, last reached in 2008. The Board has paused further increases pending additional analysis on the risk of reaching the top of the Flood Reserve and a meeting with hydroelectric companies to review dam safety and discuss operational issues related to the record flows along the English and Winnipeg Rivers. Further outflow increases from Lac Seul are possible this week.

Lac Seul Operating Range and Flood Reserve

The LWCB recognizes that downstream areas along the English River, including Pakwash LakeGrassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong, and the Winnipeg River in Manitoba are already experiencing extremely high and damaging water levels, with many areas well above previous records. States of emergency have been declared in several communities with evacuations underway. The Board’s decision to increase flows out of Lac Seul is to address a significant risk of requiring much higher outflows towards the end of May and early June once Lac Seul reaches the top of the Flood Reserve. High outflows from Lac Seul in the near term reduce the risk of extremely high, possibly record-breaking outflows, in the medium term.

These flow increases from Lac Seul will take some time to work down the English River, with an estimate of about two weeks to reach Nutimik Lake.

2022.05.20 Lake Level Forecasts

Record flow conditions are occurring across many areas of the Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota following record high precipitation since the start of April and early May. Forecasts indicate that inflows to all major lakes will continue to be exceptionally high, but falling, for the 7-day forecast period. Many natural tributaries across the region have crested with some now falling, but it is unlikely that they will return to normal flows this month. Water levels will remain high for at least several weeks across most areas of the basin as a result. Wet weather will prolong the duration of high water levels.

Rainfall over the past several days has been greatest in the northern portion of the watershed, along the English River.

Precipitation May 17-20, 2022 – Data Source: Canadian Precipitation Analysis

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.71 m (1062.0 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 23 cm (9 in) over past week. The lake is above the top of the Legislated Operating Range, 323.47 m (1061.25 ft). The International Lake of the Woods Control Board has been activated and is working with the Canadian Lake of the Woods Control Board to approve any actions taken with respect to Lake of the Woods. The dams in Kenora remain fully opened with no changes scheduled.

Inflow to Lake of the Woods is nearly double the maximum outflow that is being released through the fully opened dams in Kenora. Upstream, the dams at Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake continue to be fully opened, with gradually rising outflow. The level at Namakan Lake is higher than the 2014 peak and may exceed all-time records depending on precipitation this month. Rainy Lake is nearing the 2014 peak and continued rise is expected. Outflow reductions from these lakes, therefore, are likely weeks away. With Rainy Lake releasing over 1100 m³/s, inflow to Lake of the Woods will remain very high for weeks.

The flow of the Rainy River at Manitou Rapids, approximately halfway between Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods, is over 1500 m³/s and falling. Total inflow to Lake of the Woods, including the flow out of the Rainy River and all other sources is estimated at over 2400 m³/s, while Lake of the Woods outflow from the fully opened dams in Kenora is estimated at 1292 m³/s and slowly rising with the lake level. Inflow is expected to decrease over this period, but still remain well above the outflow. As long as outflow is less than inflow, the lake will continue to rise. The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 13-15 cm (5-6 in) over the next 7 days, likely reaching the 2014 peak early next week. Continued rise at a slower rate is expected into June. However, the rate will depend on rainfall, particularly in the Rainy River and local Lake of the Woods area.

As the lake continues to rise, the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki will also rise. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 7-10 cm (3-4 in). This estimate is approximate given uncertainty in the extremely high local flows entering the river from tributary areas below Kenora (e.g. Black Sturgeon). The river will continue to gradually rise as long as Lake of the Woods continues to rise.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.28 m (1168.9 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is extremely high, resulting in a rise of 56 cm (1.8 ft) over the past week. The lake is nearing the Flood Reserve, a range of water levels above the normal operating range defined by federal Order-in-Council that corresponds to a key level for dam safety concern for the Ear Falls dam. To avoid exceeding this range , additional outflow increases are scheduled. Outflow is scheduled to be gradually increased from the current authorized flow of 565 m³/s to 800 m³/s by the end of the weekend. This is a very high outflow, last reached in 2008. Further outflow increases will be evaluated on Monday.

Lac Seul Legislated Operating Range and Flood Reserve

The LWCB recognizes that downstream areas along the English River, including Pakwash LakeGrassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong, and the Winnipeg River in Manitoba are already experiencing extremely high and damaging water levels, with some areas well above previous records. The Board’s decision to increase flows out of Lac Seul is to address a significant risk of requiring much higher outflows towards the end of May and early June once Lac Seul reaches the top of the Flood Reserve. High outflows from Lac Seul in the near term reduce the risk of extremely high, possibly record-breaking outflows, in the medium term.

These flow increases from Lac Seul will take some time to work down the English River, with an estimate of about two weeks to reach Nutimik Lake. Manitoba Hydro has provided the following forecast for Winnipeg River levels through the Whiteshell:

2022.05.18 Lake Level Forecasts

Record flow conditions are occurring across many areas of the Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota following record high precipitation since the start of April. Forecasts indicate that all areas will continue to see exceptionally high flows for the 7-day forecast period. A return to normal flows is unlikely in the coming weeks.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.66 m (1061.9 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 26 cm (10 in) over past week. The lake is above the top of the Legislated Operating Range, 323.47 m (1061.25 ft). The International Lake of the Woods Control Board has been activated and will work with the Canadian Lake of the Woods Control Board to approve any actions taken with respect to Lake of the Woods. The dams in Kenora remain fully opened with no changes scheduled.

Inflow to Lake of the Woods is nearly double the maximum outflow that is being released through the fully opened dams in Kenora. Upstream, the dams at Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake continue to be fully opened, with gradually rising outflow. The level at Namakan Lake is higher than the 2014 peak and may exceed all-time records depending on precipitation this month. Rainy Lake is nearing the 2014 peak and continued rise is expected. Outflow reductions from these lakes, therefore, are likely weeks away. With Rainy Lake releasing over 1100 m³/s, inflow to Lake of the Woods will remain very high for weeks.

Adding to the flow from Rainy Lake, the tributaries to the Rainy River are dropping. The flow of the Rainy River at Manitou Rapids, approximately halfway between Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods, is over 1600 m³/s. Total inflow to Lake of the Woods, including the flow out of the Rainy River and all other sources is estimated at over 2500 m³/s, while Lake of the Woods outflow from the fully opened dams in Kenora is estimated at 1283 m³/s and slowly rising with the lake level. Inflow is expected to decrease over this period, but still remain well above the outflow. As long as outflow is less than inflow, the lake will continue to rise. The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 15-20 cm (6-8 in) over the next 7 days, likely reaching the 2014 peak near the end of this period. Continued rise is expected into June, but the rate will depend on rainfall, particularly in the Rainy River and local Lake of the Woods area.

As the lake continues to rise, the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki will also rise. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 12-16 cm (5-7 in). This estimate is approximate given uncertainty in the extremely high local flows entering the river from tributary areas below Kenora (e.g. Black Sturgeon). The river will continue to gradually rise as long as Lake of the Woods continues to rise.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.14 m (1168.4 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is extremely high, resulting in a rise of 63 cm (2.1 ft) over the past week. With the rapid rise in the level of the lake expected to continue, the LWCB has directed the closure of the Root River Diversion (which draws flow out of Lake St. Joseph into Lac Seul), which is occurring on May 18. This will reduce flow into Lac Seul by approximately 90 m³/s. The LWCB has also directed an increase in the outflow from Lac Seul from 415 m³/s to 465 m³/s on Tuesday, May 17, and to 565 m³/s on Thursday, May 19. Additional increases are being arranged, as soon as this weekend. More details will be provided on this Notice Board.

The LWCB recognizes that downstream areas along the English River, including Pakwash LakeGrassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong, and the Winnipeg River in Manitoba are already experiencing extremely high and damaging water levels, with some areas well above previous records. The Board’s decision to increase flows out of Lac Seul is to address a significant risk of requiring much higher outflows towards the end of May and early June once Lac Seul reaches the top of its Flood Reserve. High outflows from Lac Seul in the near term reduce the risk of extremely high, possibly record-breaking outflows, in the medium term.

These flow increases from Lac Seul will take some time to work down the English River, with an estimate of about two weeks to reach Nutimik Lake. Manitoba Hydro will provide an updated forecast for the Winnipeg River in Manitoba on May 20.

2022.05.16 Lake Level Forecasts

Record flow conditions are occurring across many areas of the Winnipeg River drainage basin in Ontario, Manitoba and Minnesota following record high precipitation since the start of April. Forecasts indicate that all areas will continue to see exceptionally high flows for the 7-day forecast period. A return to normal flows is unlikely in the coming weeks.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.60 m (1061.7 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 30 cm (12 in) over past week. The lake has risen above the top of the Legislated Operating Range, 323.47 m (1061.25 ft). The International Lake of the Woods Control Board has been activated and will work with the Canadian Lake of the Woods Control Board to approve any actions taken with respect to Lake of the Woods. The dams in Kenora remain fully opened with no changes scheduled.

Inflow to Lake of the Woods remains more than double the maximum outflow that is being released through the fully opened dams in Kenora. Upstream, the dams at Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake continue to be fully opened, with gradually rising outflow. The level at Namakan Lake is higher than the 2014 peak and may exceed all-time records depending on precipitation this month. Rainy Lake is nearing the 2014 peak and continued rise is expected. Outflow reductions from these lakes, therefore, are likely weeks away. With Rainy Lake releasing over 1000 m³/s, inflow to Lake of the Woods will remain very high.

Adding to the flow from Rainy Lake, the tributaries to the Rainy River have peaked again and are slowly dropping. The flow of the Rainy River at Manitou Rapids, approximately halfway between Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods, is over 1700 m³/s. Total inflow to Lake of the Woods, including the flow out of the Rainy River and all other sources is estimated at over 2500 m³/s, while Lake of the Woods outflow from the fully opened dams in Kenora is estimated at 1250 m³/s and slowly rising with the lake level. As long as outflow is less than inflow, the lake will continue to rise. The level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by approximately 15-20 cm (6-8 in) over the next 7 days. Inflow is expected to decrease over this period, but still remain well above the outflow. Continued rise beyond the 7-day forecast window is expected.

As the lake continues to rise, the level of the Winnipeg River between Kenora and Minaki will also rise. The level rise over the next 7 days below Norman Dam and down to Minaki is expected to be 12-16 cm (5-7 in). This estimate is approximate given uncertainty in the extremely high local flows entering the river from tributary areas below Kenora (e.g. Black Sturgeon). The river will continue to gradually rise as long as Lake of the Woods continues to rise.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.99 m (1167.8 ft), a 90th percentile level for this time of year. Lac Seul inflow is extremely high, resulting in a rise of 68 cm (2.2 ft) over the past week. With the rapid rise in the level of the lake expected to continue, the LWCB has directed the closure of the Root River Diversion (which draws flow out of Lake St. Joseph into Lac Seul), on Thursday, May 19. This will reduce flow into Lac Seul by approximately 90 m³/s. The LWCB has also directed an increase in the outflow from Lac Seul from 415 m³/s to 465 m³/s on Tuesday, May 17, and to 565 m³/s on Thursday, May 19. Additional increases will be evaluated by the LWCB through the week.

The LWCB recognizes that downstream areas along the English River, including Pakwash Lake, Grassy Narrows, and the Winnipeg River in Manitoba are already experiencing extremely high and damaging water levels. However, should extreme inflows to Lac Seul continue through May, the level of Lac Seul will likely reach the top of the legislated flood reserve, requiring much higher outflows to prevent further lake level rise. High outflows from Lac Seul in the near term reduce the risk of extremely high flows in the medium term.

These flow increases from Lac Seul will take some time to work down the English River, with an estimate of about two weeks to reach Nutimik Lake. If there is limited precipitation in the English River basin over the next week, declining flows out of tributaries such as the Wabigoon River may balance the additional flow arriving from Lac Seul to some degree.