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Published January 30, 2012, 07:34 PM

Devils Lake Projected to Remain Below Record Level This Year

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Lake Region residents fed up with battling rising water heard some good news on Monday. If the National Weather Service projections hold true, it would be a welcomed relief from two decades of rising water.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Lake Region residents fed up with battling rising water heard some good news on Monday.

If the National Weather Service projections hold true, it would be a welcomed relief from two decades of rising water.

"Well it's hard to not be optimistic at this point. It's really starting to look good. We're getting well past the middle of winter and still very little accumulation," North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple said.

Dalrymple has good reason to be optimistic. The most recent projections show only a 25 percent chance of lake levels reaching last year's peak of 1,454 feet.

National Weather Service meteorologists say a dry winter has helped lake levels lower a foot since last summer. Dalrymple is hopeful that trend continues.

"If we can get the spring runoff without too much rise, we have a great chance to get the lake lower this year," Dalrymple said.

Lake Region residents are tired of the endless struggle against rising water.

"We do need some relief, finally. We've been at this for many, many years and it'll be great if we can have a nice transitional spring," said Joe Belford, a member of the Lake Emergency Management Committee.

Belford says lower levels will give construction crews a chance to repair and reinforce roads without the threat of further destruction.

"There will be a lot of road work continuing, and so I guess we can hope that maybe we're out of the woods for a while and we can get things done and move forward with our lives," Belford said.

Of course this is all just a projection, and winter's not over. So if wet weather comes roaring back, it could once again bring record lake levels with it.

"Winter sometimes arrives late in North Dakota, so we'll have to wait and see what happens," Dalrymple said.

Several factors could affect the water levels including how much the snow pack builds up and how fast it melts in the spring.

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