Freedom–April 16, 2014–It has been only two weeks since my last report (“Almost Empty”). During that time, spring has come to Ossipee Lake. Much snow and ice has melted. Frost heaves are starting to level out, and the town has been in three times to grade our gravel road.
A good quantity of snow and ice remain, but the ground is starting to thaw in some places. The lake and most ponds remain ice-covered with open water around the edges. The ice sheet on North Broad Bay is moving from west to east and back again, depending on the wind. This may be my first year with ice damage to the stored docks.
As for height of the lake, it has been an amazing spring with the level up more than five feet in 14 days. Not much rain, but lots of snow melt. On Friday 04/04 the level reached 407.25’ (normal summer level). Just five days later it toped out at 409.65’ and has been holding at that level. Up to an inch of rain predicted for Tuesday evening. This rain combined with remaining snowmelt could add another foot to the lake level by Good Friday. The good news is that this would be two feet below the record high set in 1998.
I was at the dam middle of last week and it is wide open (as always in the winter). There was so much snow in the parking area and on the trail to the north side that I could not get to that area.
One observation I would like to record for future conversations is HOW LOW WILL THE LEVEL GO IN THE WINTER? This past winter (2013-14) the reported level got down to 404.09’ but never below and we had weeks of dry weather. Some oldtimers say the level can get down to 403.5 but I do not have information that supports that level. CAUTION: I am basing my observations on the DEP web site reports but have no way of knowing if the data is accurate.
I DON’T REMEMBER WINTER – DO YOU?
PS: I just had a response from Dan at the State DEP Dam Bureau. There is a downside limitation to the present reporting capability of the Ossipee Lake water level gauge. Presently it does not record below 404.09, but the water level can go below that reading. SO, 404.09 IS NOT ALWAYS THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL. This can be important to some of us with driven wells. So far in 15 years I have never run out of water, but I become concerned when the reported level gets down to 404’.