The Smart Report: Approaching Memorial Day Weekend

Freedom — May 25, 2005 — The Ossipee Lake water level roller coaster ride continues, and Steve at the State Dam Bureau plus the Ossipee Lake Dam authority are planning and doing all they can to slow down the ride to 407.25 feet above sea level for the next three months. (Winter draw down will start early this year, one day after Labor Day to allow for maintenance work on the dam).

With a wide open dam on both the north and south side, flood waters from late April and early May were drained away. By last Thursday, 05/19, the level hit 406.74′. Late that day all 52 stop logs were placed on the north side and all but one gate was closed on the south side. There was a slow increase in the level until it hit 407.26′ at 5 PM Sunday afternoon.

Heavy rain returned late Sunday evening and really began to show up on the level gauge Monday at 6 AM with a 7 3/4″ increase from the previous Friday morning The rain kept coming and the prediction was for a week of rain. Monday afternoon three more gates were opened for a total of 4 out of 5 available.

Tuesday morning the level was up another 4.5” to 407.81′. The last gate was opened and 20 stop logs were removed from the north side. More rain Tuesday evening, but it ended about the time I finished the first cup of morning coffee on Wednesday. Prediction for rain has eased up with only one inch by end of the week and some clearing for the weekend.

This morning (Wednesday) the 6 AM level was 408.35′. At 10:30 this morning the level was 408.38′ so the open dam may have slowed but not reversed the increased level.

Level information is from the state gauge on the northwest shore of the big lake. Chuck DePew and I have been comparing this data with the measurements he is taking in front of his boat house. As expected, his levels are about 3″ lower than the state gauge because of the flow restriction from the big lake to Broad Bay. (During a flood the lake is not level from end to end). In April the difference was 6″.

Now for the Good News

The Dam Authority website for Ossipee Lake is up and full of information on our lake. It contains hourly reports on flow rates, levels, temperature and rainfall for the lake, Bearcamp River and Ossipee River. Information is obtained at 6 AM and 6 PM every day and is available about an hour later on the website. Information is also provided on the exact location of the measuring gauges.

To get there, log on to www.des.state.nh.us/rti_home/. Then select Ossipee from the list of locations. Then select the actual gauge you would like to observe. When you choose a location, take some time to view the options that are displayed across the top of the screen, such as “Tabular Data”.

That’s the news from here for now.

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