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Published April 19, 2013, 04:15 PM

Devils Lake anxiously waits for Red and Cheyenne crests

As the Red River Valley prepares for significant flooding this year the Lake Region is waiting to deal with its own flooding. Two state outlets can't begin moving water from Devils Lake until the flood crests downstream, which could take weeks.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

As the Red River Valley prepares for significant flooding this year the Lake Region is waiting to deal with its own flooding. Two state outlets can't begin moving water from Devils Lake until the flood crests downstream, which could take weeks.

The west end outlet was already functioning for two weeks this time last year but crazy spring weather means we might be more than two months from the pumps coming on this year.

The two outlets can't be turned on until both the Red River and the Sheyenne River go below flood stage. The wet winter means high flows are expected in both rivers and the late winter means the spring melt is taking longer to fill those rivers up. Devils Lake water could seriously increase any potential flood damage, so the state water commission is playing the waiting game. The outlets could start running as early as next month, but experts says it's impossible to tell.

Jeff Frith, Devils Lake Joint Water Resource Board: "We have to wait until the Sheyenne and the Red River drops below flood stage, and that could be quite some time. In 2011 that didn't happen until some time in July."

The late start means the pumps won't make as much of a dent in the two and a half foot rise the lake is expected to see this spring. Any spring rains will also have a significant impact on downstream river levels and could delay the Devils Lake pumps even further.

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