Freedom–March 9, 2016–This has been an easy winter in NH. My heating propane is 300 gallons under same time level as last year. Some snow, but most is gone. Frequent rain that is now ice in a few foot travel areas including the shaded side of my garage.
We had heavy rain last Wednesday night that raised lake level from 405.3 to 407.7 (3″ over summer level) in just three days. The level started a slow decline a week ago. I was at the dam that Saturday. Both sides are wide open and flow rate is 1,800 cfs, same as other days when lake level is this high. No ice on the up-river side of the dams. Water level is almost the same on both sides of the South dam indicating it is wide open.
The big lake and Broad Bay remain ice covered with one report of 18″ of ice. There were two ice fishermen on the ice in front of our place during the annual Meredith Ice Fishing Contest. I did not see any fish. I do not know how they got onto the ice because there is at least 6′ of open water between shore and the ice cover.
One problem with early high water (same as last year) is that the stanchions that hold the stop logs in place on the north side must be down and locked before that dam can be closed. This cannot be done until the lake level is down to about 405′. Weather permitting this should be some time in April. Launch ramps may be very shallow until the dam can be closed. Good news is that the State Dam Bureau and Mother Nature have always had the lake back up to summer level of 407.25′ by the target date of June 1.
The reported lake level as of last night is now down to 406.4. Predicted rain for Thursday may stop the decline for a few days. The big lake and NBB remain ice covered.
The annual Ossipee Recreation Department Ice-Out Contest is open for estimates until 5 p.m. on March 11. If the weather remains mild and we have some rain, the ice could be gone in mid- to late March. Previous Ice-Out dates have been:
4/22/14 & 15