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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Dry spell has water levels falling fast

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 6/2/21

REGIONAL— A dry May has continued the overall pattern that’s been in place across the region since late last summer and it has sent river levels tumbling again, to levels far below …

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Dry spell has water levels falling fast

Posted

REGIONAL— A dry May has continued the overall pattern that’s been in place across the region since late last summer and it has sent river levels tumbling again, to levels far below average for this time of year.
While April precipitation eased the drought conditions somewhat, it appears it wasn’t enough to build reserves to maintain water levels. And with barely half the area’s normal rainfall in May, the decline in water levels has continued in recent weeks.
The drop has been most pronounced on the Little Fork River, which has fallen from a flow of 6,560 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of April 12, after the only significant rain outbreak of the spring, to just 361 cfs as of May 17. That’s far below the Q75 for May, meaning it’s almost certainly in the bottom 10th percentile for flow this time of year.
The term Q75 reflects a water level that is lower than 75 percent of the average reading for that time of year. The May Q75 for the Little Fork River is 1,210 cfs, or nearly four times higher than the current river flow.
The Vermilion River has fallen sharply as well, from a high of 1,920 cfs to 461 cfs as of Monday. That’s barely half of the river’s Q75 of 828 cfs.
The Basswood River was just over half of its Q75 at a flow of 1,230 cfs.
With extremely warm temperatures for this time of year forecast for the weekend, with only scattered chances of thunderstorms, water levels are likely to continue to fall over the next several days. June is traditionally the region’s wettest month, with an average of one inch of rain per week.

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  • snowshoe2

    Going to get much much lower

    Tuesday, June 8 Report this