Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Anyone out there been building an ark?

Layout 1 (Page 1)Wow, here’s hoping you’ve been able to stay dry… for you outsiders that means a lot of locals have been complaining about the rain on the plains… and we ain’t in Spain.

So let me tell about the rain around Lake Tschida. The legend out here is that for every inch of rain west of here the lake rises one foot. The Bureau’s website said that water was coming into Lake Tschida at a rate of 5,600 cubic feet per second and draining through the glory hole at 1,700 feet per second. For those of you math challenged types, that means the inflow is almost three times greater than the outflow… and it usually takes at least three days after a storm for the water to trickle down the Heart River into Lake Tschida.

Thus as a result of well over 4 inches of recent rains out west, Lake Tschida is likely to rise at least 4 feet… and since I got here last Friday it has come at least that much. The detail here is that last weekend was Memorial Day, known out here as the first day of summer and the weekend that everyone out here opens up their cabins for the summer.

A big part of opening up involves putting in pumps, docks, boats, decks, and all the other accoutrements that go along with life on the lake and beach… and for the record there was some beach left before the rains came. Presently Tschida has well over 30 miles of shoreline and there ain’t any beach left from here to Dickinson.  So those of us who put our pontoons, pumps, and docks in have now entered flood mode.

Neighbor Ron’s pontoon was securely tied to his dock when the water came. Overnight the pontoon lifted the dock and floated it into the middle of the bay before stalling out. The dock not only ended up upside down and backwards, but under Ron’s pontoon. Needless to say it took a few hours for four of us to figure out how to untangle and rescue it.

And the water had just started coming in. Most docks out here are made of steel and therefore sink when the water rises, so most of these dock owners just let them sit there until the water drops. Off hand, amongst other flotsam, I’m sure that there are a few dozen docks under water out there somewhere.

Then as the water rises, pontoons and boats that are tied up along the shores begin to drift into the trees and need monitoring and potential rescuing (i.e. – extracting and moving posts further up the bank and retying ropes, etc.). So we retired folks out here spend most of our days watching the eight pontoons in our bay and waiting to re-tie each as they drift further and further onto shore as the water insidiously continues it rise.

As this is being  written we are on day three of waiting for the water to stabilize and day four’s forecast is for more rain… so it looks like this phenomenon is likely to continue for a while and given the rise along with Lake Tschida’s expected recession and such… we might see some beach by August out here.

So back to my original question; have any of you noticed anyone building an ark? If so we’d sure like to hear about it. Such affirmation would indicate that maybe this flood thing might go on longer than we anticipated and it might be a good idea to just move back to town.

Here’s hoping that your prognostications don’t lead you into predicaments.