Drought: Twin Cities lake near all-time low record

Minnehaha Creek.jpg

Kayaker enjoying high water on Minnehaha Creek in 2007.

At least one Twin Cities lake is nearing an all-time record low water level this summer, and others are dropping fast.

White Bear Lake is currently within two inches of the lowest level ever recorded. The water level in White Bear is down well over 2 feet from last year. The current water level in White Bear is 920.1 feet above sea level (ASL). The lowest level recorded is 919.89 ASL feet in 1991.

In the west metro, Lake Minnetonka is also down nearly 2 feet from last year. The current level stands at 927.86 feet ASL. It was at 929.71 feet ASL as recently as last June.

To help maintain the lake level the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District has closed Gray’s Bay Dam since early this summer. That means no water is flowing into Minnehaha Creek from the lake. In Deephaven, the headwaters that flow into Purgatory Creek which runs into the Minnesota River are dry.

Many metro area residents are observing marshes that usually hold water are very low or bone dry in some cases. These are the visible signs of hydrologic drought in the region. The Twin Cities is about 8 inches below average rainfall this year, and over 10 inches below average since last summer.

Your lawn is no doubt feeling the effects of drought too. Want some good news? It seems mosquito counts are way down to near zero this summer at the Huttner Weather Lab. At least we can sit out and enjoy the weather, even if it’s hard to launch your boat in the nearest lake.


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