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This aerial shot shows flooding on the shores of Devil's Lake near Perham. Photo by Chris Happel for the Focus.

Some East Otter Tail County lakes see record flooding

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Some area lakes are experiencing record high waters.

Kerb's, Paul, Little McDonald and Devil's Lake near Perham are all at an all-time high, about six inches higher than the previous record, according to Ardell Wiegantd of the area Lake Improvement District (LID) Board.

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The reason for the high waters, Wiegantd said, is that the flooding lakes don't have outlets.

"Years ago the lakes were part of the ditch 25 system," Wiegantd said, "but once roads got put in, the lakes became landlocked. There's no place for the water to drain."

Some roads and properties on those lakes are under water, and the LID Board will be holding an emergency meeting about the high water on Saturday, April 23 at 9 a.m. at the Perham Area Community Center to discuss solutions.

Wiegantd said that the LID Board has been working for six years to get the lakes back into the ditch 25 system, which is a way of getting lake water into the Ottertail River system.

"The high water is a big problem," Wiegantd. "A number of people are sandbagging their property. It's a big dollar factor for a lot of people."

Highway flooding

Meanwhile, highway officials say that overall flooding in East Otter Tail County could have been worse during this flood season.

Two roads in the west side of the county were closed due to flooding. Although water crept up to the curbs on the east side, flooding did not prompt closures.

"Things aren't too bad on the east side," said County Highway Maintenance Supervisor Dallas Grewe.

Typically, water on this side of the county tends to go down when the frost goes out, Grewe said. That means areas most heavily impacted should be on the way to recovery.

What the area didn't escape was break-up on major roads. Grewe said heavy rainfall has caused a build-up of moisture under the roads' tar, softening the road base. That creates conditions for the road to literally break, resulting in inconvenience for motorists and a lot of work for the highway department.

Grewe said it typically takes a month after the rainy season before roads firm up.

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