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Grand Forks Herald, Published July 28 2010

Devils Lake may have reached peak for year

GRAND FORKS – Even though an inch of rain or more fell overnight Monday in parts of the Upper Devils Lake Basin, the mammoth lake may have peaked in elevation for the year.

The lake reached a record elevation of 1,452.05 feet above sea level in late June but since has leveled off. Unofficially, the lake reached 1,452.10 feet on June 27. The elevation was at 1,451.89 feet Tuesday morning.

“Typically, it peaks this time of year,” said Mike Lukes, hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. “Considering our rains recently, there’s that chance that we could get more rain and peak again later. But based on our long-range outlook, we have it pretty much going down from here.”

The major reason is that with warmer temperatures this time of year, water is evaporating faster than it is entering the lake from the upper basin. In addition, the state-owned Devils Lake Outlet is releasing as much as 250 cubic feet of water per second toward the Sheyenne River. The capacity of the outlet was raised from 100 cfs earlier this summer.

“We could be proven wrong by a big rain,” Lukes said, adding that it likely would take a basinwide rain event of about 2.5 to 3 inches to cause any significant rises in the lake elevation for the remainder of 2010.