The Smart Report: Notes from the Lake

Freedom — October 11, 2005 — Angry waters are back under the Route 153 bridge in Freedom, all because of heavy rain Friday night, Saturday and Sunday morning.

Reports of total precipitation range from 5″ to 8″ depending on location.

The lake was at 403.83′ last Friday morning (4 days ago) and the dam was wide open, trying to remove the last few inches of water for the winter. Some waterfront work was completed by the end of September and contractors had scheduled to begin work on other jobs the Tuesday after Columbus Day (today).

However, the northern flow of holiday visitors included the heavy rain. Some sections of Route 16 just north of Indian Mound were closed for a few hours due to water over the road. Today, all of the local roads are open with no indication of recent flooding.

The lake level began a slow increase at noon on Saturday. By Sunday morning it was up almost a foot. By Sunday midnight it was up another three feet to 408.24 (one foot over summer normal). By Monday midnight it was up another 1.25 feet.

The level appears to have crested at 9 am this morning when it reached 409.58′. This was a jump of almost 6 feet in 2.5 days. If we had been on the normal draw down schedule which starts after Columbus Day the lake level would be near 412′, just about equal to the June 1998 disaster level. The heavy rain quit Sunday morning but the level increase continued for two additional days.

There are several stories going around town about why there is flooding this time, including partial dam failure at Pine River Pond and a slow discharge at the Ossipee dam. So far I have no proof of any of this.

Based on personal observation of the Ossipee dam at 3 pm today I can assure you it is open and water is flowing from both the north and south sides.

The next, big danger is possibility of heavy rain on Wednesday. If it and other heavy rain storms stay away from our area, the lake level should be down to waterfront repair level in 2 weeks.

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