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Old 12-30-2023, 08:45 AM   #1
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Default Lake Level

Apologies if this is a topic already, but I cannot seem to find it. Summer resident here.

We have a Ring camera facing the lake. The lake level seems rather high for this time of year. I worry that this will impact ice out. In 2021, ice floes damaged our dock and destroyed a retaining wall which we have yet to be able to fix. The dock is fixed, but I fear a repeat of 2021 if the lake level remains high.

Am I off base? Is this level normal?


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Old 12-30-2023, 09:32 AM   #2
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https://www.des.nh.gov/sites/g/files...-graph2023.pdf

I wouldn't worry about ice/dock damage since you can't do anything about it now. Lots of folks use bubblers, but that doesn't do anything to prevent floe damage in the spring.
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Old 12-30-2023, 09:48 AM   #3
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Use link below for everything you would want concerning lake level. Last reading on 12/28 was 504.07 vs full pond at 504.32.


https://www.des.nh.gov/sites/g/files...-chart2023.pdf
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Old 12-30-2023, 01:11 PM   #4
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Can't have any damage if there isn't any ice. With all the rain and high temps so far, probably looking like another year like last year.
I hope I'm wrong, looking forward to my first full time winter up here being what I remember as a kid, but that seems like it will continue to be in my dreams.
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Old 12-30-2023, 06:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by chachee52 View Post
Can't have any damage if there isn't any ice. With all the rain and high temps so far, probably looking like another year like last year.

I hope I'm wrong, looking forward to my first full time winter up here being what I remember as a kid, but that seems like it will continue to be in my dreams.
The ice did come in last year albeit too late for the ice runway. I watched as a floes banged into our wall again during ice out. Nothing like 2021, but still worrying. Odd, though, as it had not happened before in our twenty plus years owning the property.


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Old 12-31-2023, 06:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nj2nh View Post
Apologies if this is a topic already, but I cannot seem to find it. Summer resident here.

We have a Ring camera facing the lake. The lake level seems rather high for this time of year. I worry that this will impact ice out. In 2021, ice floes damaged our dock and destroyed a retaining wall which we have yet to be able to fix. The dock is fixed, but I fear a repeat of 2021 if the lake level remains high.

Am I off base? Is this level normal?


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The lake is over a foot higher than its targeted level for this time of year (and close to summertime "Full Pool"). However, the actual level is subject to the weather. We have had a LOT of rain during the last few weeks. Further, the target lake level by the end of March is another foot lower than that of the end of December. In total, we are about 2 feet over the target for the end of March.

However, we have 94 days before that target. The Lakeport dam is currently discharging about 1000 CFS. That lowers the lake about 1/2" per day, about half of the maximum 1" a day the dam can achieve. At the current discharge rate, the lake would be down to the end of March target in mid February, well ahead of schedule.

Further, as the weather shifts from rain to snow, and the ground freezes, there will be far less runoff. The next two week forecast is for a foot of SNOW rather than rain. While weather is uncertain, it is very likely that rain and runoff will decrease significantly for the next 3 months. Once the lake starts to freeze, snow will accumulate on the ice and the impact of any moisture will be delayed until spring melt.

In addition, the reason for the drawdown is to accommodate the spring melt. If we continue to get warm temps and rain, there will be significantly less spring melt for the lake to absorb so if it was a little over target, it might not matter as much.

The dam can continue to drain the lake at the current rate or even higher for the next 3 months, easily achieving a 2 foot drop by the end of March.

There are a lot of factors to consider in managing the lake level but it's far to early to worry about the Spring levels at this point. The dam managers have been doing a good job in dealing with the weather. I would expect that to continue.
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Old 12-31-2023, 12:09 PM   #7
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Laconia forecast shows the 10th with 44F day temp and rain. That should cause some melt off.
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Old 02-26-2024, 09:29 AM   #8
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After the concern in December, I would like to point out that the lake level is down to the historical mean for this time of year, 502.84. This is also about the annual time and level of the mean lowest lake level. To the best I can determine, the mean is calculated over roughly the past 40 years, since 1982. There are graphs and tables online that provide this information and if you look up the current lake level graph at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, it includes the mean value.

Reading some info about management of the lake level, it indicates the "target" low level for around the end of March is 802.32, about 2 feet below the target high level. However, looking at the historical mean levels, the actual lowest mean is at the end of February and is about 502.81, about 6" higher than the target. The lake almost never reaches the "target" low.

So, for now, all is well. We are expecting some rain from the 10 day forecast but if they keep the Lakeport dam running at a reasonable clip (~1000 cfs), it should be easily dealt with in a week or so. Not only that, but it seems the snow pack is on the lower side so the melt off would be less. That could lead to a low spring lake level unless we get a good amount of rain. The March-April-May predication for NH from NOAA is for above average temps and average rainfall. No drought is predicted in NH through the end of May.

We will have to see what the weather actually does.
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Old 02-26-2024, 11:30 AM   #9
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Looks like it could be an early mud season.
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Old 03-20-2024, 05:58 PM   #10
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Default Current lake level

This is for the experts on this topic…..is the lake at normal levels for this time of year? From cameras aimed at the dock, it seems quite a bit lower than usual. I am hoping that we are wrong. TIA.
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Old 03-20-2024, 06:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Sue Doe-Nym View Post
This is for the experts on this topic…..is the lake at normal levels for this time of year? From cameras aimed at the dock, it seems quite a bit lower than usual. I am hoping that we are wrong. TIA.
Sue
It’s right where it should be Sue! It has come up a lot in the past week or so…should be at full pool by mid April which is right on schedule!

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Old 03-20-2024, 08:20 PM   #12
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If you go to Bizer and then select Lake Level you will see a graph of the 2024 level of the lake and the previous 5 years for comparison. The current value is only updated weekly but it gives you a good idea of where we stand.

As another point of information, the lake is a bit higher than normal and they have increased the flow from the Lakeport Dam to keep it from getting too far ahead of schedule.

Another thing to note is that, if I read some of the data correctly, the snow pack is rather light this year so the spring melt off will probably be less than normal. And, for what it's worth, the rainfall predicted for the next few months is supposed to be, on average, normal.

In summation, we are not expecting any great deluge of water. However, weather is what actually happens. Right now, things look good.
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Old 03-21-2024, 03:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ishoot308 View Post
ItÂ’s right where it should be Sue! It has come up a lot in the past week or soÂ…should be at full pool by mid April which is right on schedule!

Dan
I don't know who determines where it "should be", but we're way above normal. Yesterday's reading of 3.81 (feet) is nine inches above the average of 3.07 feet for March 20th (1982-2023). Only three March 20th readings since 1982 have been above 3.81, so it's pretty high.

Full pool (within 1/2 inch) typically occurs from mid-May to mid-June.
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Old 03-21-2024, 08:02 AM   #14
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I don't know who determines where it "should be", but we're way above normal. Yesterday's reading of 3.81 (feet) is nine inches above the average of 3.07 feet for March 20th (1982-2023). Only three March 20th readings since 1982 have been above 3.81, so it's pretty high.

Full pool (within 1/2 inch) typically occurs from mid-May to mid-June.
I was going by your lake level chart (see below) which shows it to be at the same level as 2022 and 2020 for this time of year...Is the chart incorrect??...or has it changed that much since the chart was updated??

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Old 03-21-2024, 08:57 AM   #15
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I'm always happy to see it a little high in April so debris that drifts to shore will be stranded as the level goes down. I've never had a direct hit, but props and semi-floating trees are not a good mix. It is nice of our early birds and MP to tow away whatever they find. Thanks you all.
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Old 03-22-2024, 05:51 AM   #16
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I was going by your lake level chart (see below) which shows it to be at the same level as 2022 and 2020 for this time of year...Is the chart incorrect??...or has it changed that much since the chart was updated??

Dan
The 2022 and 2020 and this year results were both an early and RAPID increase compared to the approximately 40 year mean level of the lake at this time of year. The lake is currently about 6" higher than the mean. This is, of course, due to weather events and the choices of the dam managers. It's been warm enough for an early ice out and to melt all the local snow pack and we had a series of rain storms. The dam managers dropped the lake to normal mean levels at the end of February and then shut the outflow to relatively low levels, just when we got a bunch of rain. The dam flow is now back up at 1400 CFS, a good clip to dump a little excess water and the lake level has responded. We are about to get a BIG snowstorm but all that will melt fairly quickly adding to runoff.

Will we continue to get a lot of rain or will things dry up for next couple of months? The dam operators will continue to respond as best they can.

The reality is, variation from the mean is normal. We can note that the lake is a little high but 6" of extra water can be dealt with in a week or so if downstream is not already flooding. If we get a couple of 3" rain events back to back it will send the lake up high and probably take a few weeks to dump the excess water. That's where we were in January and it was back to normal at the end of February. The prediction is for average levels of precipitation for the next few months, however, suppose all that precipitation happens in the next few weeks and then it goes dry? The amount could be "average" over 3 months but heavily skewed to right NOW. What happens if the lake comes up to a nice full level for May and then we get a couple 3+ inch storms? Panic, shore damage, No Wake? And there is no action we can take right now to prevent a problem if that is what happens. We could leave the lake low but if we don't get normal rainfall we would have people hitting rocks. That tends to happen in the Fall from time to time.

The only thing the lake managers can do is plan for the mean; the mean amount of expected rain and target the mean lake levels (because they generally work). Then they they have to respond to the actual weather, which can have extremes.
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Old 03-22-2024, 06:36 AM   #17
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Default DES Website also has good lake level data

I find this to be a good source as well (in addition to Bizer):

https://nhdes.rtiamanzi.org/stations

If you zoom in on the map you can select the Weirs station and get charts of lake level, water temp, etc.

As you can see, the Mean Pool elevation line is not static and fluxuates based on the time of year…so…to echo Bizer’s comment above, we’re a fair amount above mean level for this time of year.
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Old 03-22-2024, 09:06 AM   #18
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I looked at the DES information this morning, they are maintaining the lake right about where they should this time of year, given the snow pack. It is down around 6 inches from full pool. This gives them a buffer and the ability to cut back on the outflow, should mother nature bring in to many April Showers.... In past years, the lake has been higher, after ice out, because there was so much snow pack that the couldn't release to much water or there would have been flooding.

This time of year the dam operators are very busy watching the melt, and weather forecasts to keep it all in control. I anticipate that once the inflow into the lake starts to drop significantly, they will tighten up the dam, and bring the lake up closer to full pool.....
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Old 04-05-2024, 05:39 AM   #19
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Winnipesaukee is now at FULL POOL, about 9" above the mean level for this date, and sooner in the season than usual. Further, we are predicted to get over an inch of rain next week. That will also melt the snow we just got adding to runoff into the lake. I suspect we may soon be seeing pictures of docks underwater with water filled garbage cans on top. Luckily, avoiding adding insult to injury, the ice is already OUT.

On top of that, the downstream lakes (Winnisquam, Silver Lake, ...) also are topped out, restricting how much the dam operators can send their way.

It's well before boating season so wake will be less of an issue right now but it will probably take a while to get rid of the extra water. A lot of spring rain could make it more difficult. We will see what the weather brings.
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Old 04-05-2024, 05:59 AM   #20
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Default wake speed

I think it was '98, the first summer we owned on the lake that it was wake speed for about a month (?) due to high lake level. I remember blithely boating to Trexler's for gas in early June wondering why everyone was going so slow! The gas attendant told me of the speed restriction and it took an hour to get back to our place at South Point.

Bother.
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Old 04-05-2024, 06:52 AM   #21
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I believe the no wake on the lake was only about a week, but it was Fourth of July week. Not great for a tourist area!

The Silver Sands island was under water.
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Old 04-05-2024, 12:12 PM   #22
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There were two no wake periods. I can't remember the years though.
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Old 04-05-2024, 12:32 PM   #23
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Back Bay, Wolfeboro. 2005

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Old 04-06-2024, 11:23 AM   #24
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Yes it was 1998 because I bought my boat in fall 97 lol. It did last a good month and ended just in time for 4th. We had trailed a couple times to Newfound to use the boat.
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Old 04-06-2024, 01:03 PM   #25
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Drove by Winnisquam Marine at the bridge today, water level was right at the bottom of their docks.
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Old 04-14-2024, 07:38 PM   #26
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Winnipesaukee is now 6" over full pool. The dam is only running at 1000 CFS, probably because downstream is already very high as well. At that rate it could take a couple weeks to get rid of the excess 6".

The good thing is that there is almost no rain in the 10 day forecast and maybe if downstream starts to recede, the dam can be opened up further.
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Old 04-14-2024, 09:24 PM   #27
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The first trip to camp, it's always fun to say: "Wow! Look how high the water is." I wish we could have full pool August 1st instead of June, and keep it up a bit until Oct. 15.
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Old 04-15-2024, 06:55 AM   #28
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Question ... crank-up, elevated in winter, new aluminum 30' dock?

Yeah, my 30' x 5" olde, antique, aluminum dock has always been low to the water, plus it is a vintage 1950's or 1960's aluminum dock dissimilar from any other dock, ever made in the world history of aluminum docks.

If I was to install it into Lake Winnipesaukee today, it will be underwater by about two inches, and will need the hold-down weight of ten 30-lb concrete blocks and a 32-gal trash barrel loaded with water, 256-lbs, to keep it in place from incoming wakes and waves.

Think I will await the lowering of the water level till May 1 before installing it, and start to consider replacing it with a crank-up, elevated in winter, type of aluminum dock that has become very popular on Lake Winnipesaukee in recent years.
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Old 04-15-2024, 08:04 AM   #29
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From the DES web site this morning, there are going to go up to 1300 cfs, and Winnisquam is going to release 1550 cfs....

The dam operators are earning their paychecks this year....

If the weather stays clear this week, hopefully they will be able increase the outflow even further.....
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Old 04-15-2024, 09:08 PM   #30
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Winnipesaukee is now 6" over full pool. The dam is only running at 1000 CFS, probably because downstream is already very high as well. At that rate it could take a couple weeks to get rid of the excess 6". The good thing is that there is almost no rain in the 10 day forecast and maybe if downstream starts to recede, the dam can be opened up further.
For every inch the lake climbs, lakewater creeps underneath our feet. Clay and topsoil are pulled out to arrive on the bottom as nourishment for algae growth.

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Old 04-29-2024, 04:42 AM   #31
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As of this morning, Winnipesaukee is just about at "Full Pool". It has taken 3 weeks to get rid of the excess water. The mean level for this date is about 2" less. So the lake is just about where it typically is for this date. There is only about 1/3 inch of rain in the forecast for the next 10 days. I would expect the Lakeport Dam operators to lower the output, which is currently 1550 CFS, to allow the downstream lakes, which are still quite high, to drop a bit.
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Old 04-29-2024, 05:23 AM   #32
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On April 26 the NH Marine Patrol issued a no-wake order on Silver Lake in the Winnipesaukee River in Belmont ...... https://nhsp.dos.nh.gov/news-and-med...lake-belmont-1 ..... until the water level drops down to 467.0 feet above sea level.
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Old 04-29-2024, 11:09 AM   #33
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As of this morning, Winnipesaukee is just about at "Full Pool". It has taken 3 weeks to get rid of the excess water. The mean level for this date is about 2" less. So the lake is just about where it typically is for this date. There is only about 1/3 inch of rain in the forecast for the next 10 days. I would expect the Lakeport Dam operators to lower the output, which is currently 1550 CFS, to allow the downstream lakes, which are still quite high, to drop a bit.
My guess is the current rate of outflow will continue until the lake hits the mean level.... That is the level they aim for because it gives them a decent guardband to work with moving forward.... Hopefully that will happen sometime this week... Now the question become how much can they throttle back the outflow and still keep that level...... hopefully they can get it to a point that allows the lakes down stream to fall as well....
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Old 04-30-2024, 06:47 PM   #34
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The operations note today indicate the Lakeport Dam flow will be reduced by 200 CFS a day for the next 3 days ending up at 900 CFS.

Winnisquam is still about 7" over it's normal high level.
Winnisquam Dam output will also be reduced by 600 CFS over 3 days.

Silver Lake dropped several inches today to it's No Wake level and is expected to drop total of about a foot with today's drop plus the next couple of days.
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Old 05-02-2024, 10:43 AM   #35
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Just checked this morning, the lake appears to still be dropping, and they have cut the dam discharge back out of Winnipesaukee, and Winnisquam is starting to re-act and lower itself as well....

Now if we can continue to have dry weather... things will hopefully stabilize, and they will get the dam closed down even more...
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Old 05-02-2024, 03:56 PM   #36
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Raining in Bristol.
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Old 05-04-2024, 05:11 AM   #37
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As of this morning, both Winnipesaukee and Silver Lake are within an inch or so of their nominal "high" levels. Winnisquam is still over its "high" level (~5 inches) but at the current rate of decline should drop to it's "high" level sometime next week. We DO expect over an inch of rain next week over a 5 day period, but that should be quite manageable.
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Old 05-11-2024, 05:32 PM   #38
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As of today, the levels of Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, and Silver Lake are all close to their normal high levels and their Means for this time of year. About 1 3/4 inches of rain is predicted over the next 10 days but that should not be a big problem to manage unless the rain continues at high rates past then. Lakeport Dam ouput is at a fairly sedate 700 CFS.
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