Devils Lake Reaches Record Levels

Devils Lake to Surpass Record Level


The Devils Lake Basin is a 3,810-square-mile (mi 2) closed basin in the Red River of the North (Red River) Basin, in North Dakota. About 3,320 mi 2 of the total 3,810 mi 2 is tributary to Devils Lake; the remainder is tributary to Stump Lake. The Devils Lake Basin contributes to the Red River Basin only when the level of Devils Lake is greater than 1,459 feet (ft) Above Sea Level (asl). At an elevation of about 1,446 ft asl, Devils Lake began to spill into Stump Lake, thus forming one lake. At an elevation of about 1,459 ft asl, the combined lakes would begin to spill through Tolna Coulee into the Sheyenne River (a tributary of the Red River). From 1867 to 2006, the lake level has fluctuated between a minimum of 1,400.9 ft asl in 1940 and a maximum of 1,449.2 ft asl in 2006 (see figure below courtesy of United States Geological Survey). Devils Lake receded from 1449.2 ft asl in 2006 to about 1446.4 ft asl by September 2008. The lake began a slow rise in response to heavy fall rainfall. The rise continued all winter long, accelerating with spring snow melt. The lake level will surpass the record level of 1449.2 ft asl on April 30 and continue to rise to a level between 1451 ft asl and 1452 ft asl sometime in late Spring or early Summer with near normal rainfall. Should rain be lighter or heavier than normal, the lake may top out below or above this range. The National Weather Service, through its Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, provides a forecast for the lake level, out 7 days into future, on a daily basis. This forecast can be found by clicking here.

 Below is a hydrograph of the Devils Lake level throughout its entire period of recorded data. Daily data began around 1930

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