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Our lakes need some rain

April 16, 2012

  It was great to see the rain on Sunday, but we could have used a lot more. Our official tally at MSP airport was just over one-half of an inch. A moderate to severe drought continues through most of the Twin Cities metro area and over much of Minnesota.

  An incredibly dry autumn, followed by limited winter snowfall, produced a significant drop in the water levels of many Minnesota lakes. Here’s a picture of Lake Minnetonka, near Excelsior Commons, taken Monday afternoon:

             (You can left-click on the photo for a larger view)

  Last spring, water covered the sand at this spot, and I remember waves splashing over the lowest rocks on the bank. Based on data from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District web site ( http://www.minnehahacreek.org/data-center/water-levels ), Lake Minnetonka is more than two feet lower than it was at this time last year.  Here are mid-April Lake Minnetonka water levels over the past four years:

2012  April 16  928.04  (Feet above sea level)

2011  April 15  930.11

2010  April 16  929.29

2009  April 16  928.94

   The water level was so high last April because we were coming out of a very snowy winter.  This winter we saw only 22.3 inches of snow, less than half of normal. Generous spring rains would help our lake levels recover a bit.  If we could schedule the rain to fall at night, followed by daytime sunshine, there would be a lot of smiles.

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