April 3, 2017
Update on Lake Levels for Prior Lake
Since the devastating flood of 2014, Prior Lake has been continually monitoring the local environmental conditions to assess flooding risk. These factors include winter snowpack, precipitation, and lake levels. The city is especially mindful of conditions right now, considering the early spring is one time of year when flooding potential receives a lot of attention. City staff performed an analysis last year and showed there isn’t a strong correlation between the lake level at the ice-out date and the eventual high water elevation for Prior Lake for any given year.
There is currently no snowpack in the watershed above Spring Lake and Prior Lake. Water levels for Prior Lake are above the long-term early spring average of 902.58 as of March 27 and the lake has been discharging through the Prior Lake Outlet Channel since last fall. The region has been experiencing some very wet weather lately, leading to full storage areas upstream (ponds, wetlands, depressions) and therefore lots of runoff every time we get more precipitation.
Staff members are currently working on finalizing a plan to identify and assess the flood trigger points (lake elevations) for flood response actions and the role the city will play in those actions. The plan will be presented to the Prior Lake City Council soon in the form of a city policy.