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Lake Sakakawea begins to drop

RIVERDALE, N.D. – Extensive runoff from a combination of melting mountain snowpack and rainfall over the Missouri River drainage caused a rush of water to enter Lake Sakakawea the past several weeks. The surge pushed the level of Lake Sakakawea to less than a foot from spilling.

The water level of massive reservoir reached a peak of 1,853.16 feet on the Fourth of July. Full capacity is 1,854 feet.

Now, Lake Sakakawea has begun a very slow decline as outflow exceeds inflow.

On Wednesday the reservoir level was 1,852.92 feet, a drop of .04 feet from the previous day. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers three-week forecast, Lake Sakakawea should continue to slowly decline in the coming days with a level of 1,852.4 feet expected by July 26.

The apparent peak last week is the fourth-highest level ever recorded for Lake Sakakawea. Barring any changes in inflow caused by rainfall, the Corps expects Lake Sakakawea to end the month of July at 1,852.0 feet. The projection for the end of August is 1,847.8 feet with an end of year level of 1,839.1 feet.