FOXHOLM - Measurements of portions of the Souris River along with the continuing water released from several reservoirs for the river has forced a flood watch for much of Renville County along the river and areas near Foxholm in Ward County. There is also a flood watch for the river above Lake Darling from where water enters North Dakota from Canada and where it enters the lake. There is no cause for concern reported for Minot.
The Souris River was measured at 9.8 feet near the city of Foxholm by midday Sunday, just short of the 10 feet flood stage level, according to the National Weather Service Office in Bismarck. The river is projected to reach and remain at the 9.9 foot level early this week. The east bank, emptying into the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, begins to overflow at 8 feet.
Although Foxholm is located on the Des Lacs River and not the Souris, the NWS gauges sections of the rivers by their nearest city when describing it by sections.
Currently Lake Darling is releasing at about 600 cubic feet per second, which helps to draw down the reservoir. Two Saskatchewan reservoirs, Rafferty and Alameda, which provide flow control for the river and offer some protection from flooding for Minot, are also releasing water to make way for spring runoff. None of these releases are reported to bring the river to flood stage by themselves, but there is some concern that the flow could push up the ice and lead to an ice jam which would contribute to rapid changes in river levels.
The impact of a potential flood, though 10 feet is only a minor flood stage, would largely affect only agricultural and refuge areas immediately along the river. Property owners in those areas should be aware of the conditions.
Residents near Devils Lake fear 2012 progress lost
DEVILS LAKE (AP) - Residents near Devils Lake in northeastern North Dakota fear that last year's progress in gaining back land from the lake could be lost this year if the National Weather Service's predictions hold true.
The latest flood outlook gives about a 25 percent chance the lake will surpass its record elevation of 1,454.3 feet above sea level, set in June 2011. That would wipe out last year's 3-foot drop that saw about 30,000 acres of land
resurface and gave residents hope that the worst was behind them.
"It takes away the optimism we had last year," said Jeff Frith, manager of the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource District. "Landowners were getting some of their land back and were reclaiming it, putting it back into production."
Devils Lake has been swallowing up thousands of acres of farmland since a wet cycle began in the early 1990s and caused the lake to quadruple in size. It rose about 32 feet between 1992 and 2011.
About $1.5 billion has been spent in the past 20 years to raise roads, move homes and business and to build other infrastructure, including outlets from the lake to the Sheyenne River.
A levee system protects the city of Devils Lake, but Frith said the runoff in the upper basin could rival record numbers and make travel in the region difficult.
"We thought we had bought ourselves some breathing room last year," Frith said. "But it looks like all of that may be gone."