Devils and Stump Lakes Long-Range Probabilistic Outlook

Jeff W. Frith
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

DEVILS LAKE - The National Weather Service provides long-range probabilistic hydrologic outlooks for Devils and Stump lakes between January and September. They will not be provided between October and December. Depending on the season, the high or low water probabilities may be omitted due to their applicability to the hydrologic situation.

Sunsetting west of Devils Lake from yesterday, the colors were brilliant and beautiful, the picture just doesn’t do it justice, it was spectacular.


Note: This outlook incorporates a daily average of 350 cfs worth of pumping operations on Devils Lake from June 1st through November 10th.

Precipitation since the last outlook (issued on March 24, 2022) has been well above average across the Devils Lake basin. Basin-wide precipitation totals since that time have been around two inches across the very far northern basin with three inches (or more) across the remainder of the basin. This well above average precipitation trend has caused an increase in the lake level probabilities with this outlook issuance.

The active weather pattern the region has experienced lately looks to continue for at least the next week or two, possibly extending throughout the month of May. Further into the summer, climate outlooks are trending towards warmer than normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

Chances of Devils and Stump Lakes Rising Above Given Lake Levels...

The probability of exceeding a given lake level is the percentage of maximum lake level rises that are above that level for all the years that were run through the model using the precipitation and temperatures for those years during the valid period of the outlook.

There is a 50 percent chance that Devils Lake will rise above 52.0 feet during the valid period and only a 5 percent chance that it will rise above 53.7 feet.

Note: The current gage zero datum of the Devils Lake at Creel Bay gage is 1401.33 feet NAVD88 or 1400.00 feet NGVD29. The gage zero datum of the Stump Lake at East Stump Lake gage is 1401.15 feet NAVD88 or 1400.00 feet NGVD29.

  •  The current height of Devils Lake is 1448.48 feet NGVD29.
  • The current height of  Stump Lake is 1448.16 feet NGVD29.
  •   The most recent USGS provisional record daily average height for Devils Lake at the Creel Bay gage: 1454.30 feet on   June 27 of 2011

*  Previous records:

  • 1452.05 feet on   June 27 of 2010
  • 1450.93 feet on   June 27 of 2009
  • 1449.20 feet on    May  9 of 2006
  • 1449.18 feet on   June 17 of 2004
  • 1449.17 feet on August  2 of 2005

    Note: All previous records are recorded in NGVD29.

DEVILS LAKE BASIN ELEVATIONS & FLOWS, APRIL 29 th, 2022 (Prior week in parentheses…4/22/2022)

DEVILS LAKE 1448.53’ msl (1448.19’)

STUMP LAKE 1448.21’ (1447.77’)


Morrison Lake near Webster 1460.78’ (1460.03)

Dry Lake near Penn 1449.77’ (1448.73’)

Big Coulee near Churchs Ferry 1449.11’ (1448.32’)

AREA COULEE FLOWS: Cubic Feet per second

Main Mauvais 1,480 (84.3)

Mauvais Trib #3 456 (27.8)

Edmore North 874 (82.9)

Edmore South 328 (161)

Starkweather 958 (175)

Little Coulee 168 (33.4)