Alarming Rainy Lake water levels cause major flooding concerns

Ranier, MN
Ranier, MN(KBJR)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 6:07 PM CDT
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RANIER, MN -- Recent heavy rain and melt-off has caused water levels on Rainy Lake to rise by more than a foot.

The NWS predicts water levels could continue to rise anywhere from 11-13 more inches between May 13 and May 20.

Residents and business owners on Rainy Lake are already dealing with the effects of the rising water.

“We’re pushing as much water as we could. We had four inches of rain in the spring which really brought our water up and we’ve been unable to move it downstream since,” said Cole Hraban, Co-Owner of Rainy Lake RV Park in Ranier.

Hraban and his wife Kari have spent the last week and a half preparing their property for flooding.

Even with time to prepare, several of their docks were fully submerged and water began flooding their property.

“Right now we’re sandbagging around our electrical right now... our transformers have 14 inches before they go underwater, and with the anticipated increase in water flow, we will be going underwater,” he said.

Tom Dougherty with the Rainy Lake Property Owners Association said Rainy Lake is currently getting more water than it’s losing.

“There’s a tremendous amount of flow that comes into the lake right now... we’re seeing an inflow of 55,000 cubic feet per second coming in to the lake, and we’re only discharging about 35,000 cubic feet,” said Dougherty.

Koochiching County has set up relief efforts for nearby residents, including a sandbagging station in International Falls for residents to use.

“We have volunteers, we have a whole line of vehicles coming in to pick up sandbags to take them out to wherever they need to go,” said I-Falls Mayor Harley Droba.

The distribution center is currently operating out of Kerry Park and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day while flooding continues to be an issue.

Volunteers are encouraged.

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