Prairie Lake homes flooded for 3rd time in 2018 after heavy rains

Prairie Lake homes flooded for 3rd time in 2018 after heavy rains. (WWMT/Ray Hole)

A lakefront community near Sturgis is dealing with major flooding for the third time in 2018 after heavy rain forced water over the banks of the Prairie River.

The St. Joseph County Drain Commissioner said the area has seen nearly 45 inches of rain since February and that Prairie Lake and five others are flooded. The people who live on Prairie Lake believe Lake Templene and dam is causing the problem.

Mary Federlick said, “It's never happened before. Now we have water that's ridiculous.”

Prairie Lake feeds into Lake Templene, which goes directly to a dam. These neighbors want to know why the folks downstream aren't seeing the same affects from the recent heavy rains.

Federlick said, “So the water is being stopped and it's backing up this way.”

It's the third strike for neighbors dealing with the damaging high waters. They're now taking their questions to St. Joseph County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wenzel.

Federlick said, “We're hearing lies. We're hearing that, 'Oh, the dams are open.' However, if you were to go over to Lake Templene and look at their water levels, this is directly connected to them through Prairie River, their water levels are wonderful.”

Jeff Wenzel said, “It isn't a matter of one lake trying to make another lake mad or trying to flood them out, it's just a matter of the amount of rains that we've gotten. All the rivers are bank full.”

Wenzel said his office has been working to accommodate everyone, but said it's hard since the area has been hit with too much water since February.

Wenzel said, “If I allow the dam operator to open that dam wide open it would flood people out downstream. So, then we'd get all kinds of calls and we are getting calls from people downstream saying, 'Don't send us any more water.'”

Neighbors want to know why they have to deal with it.

Federlick said, “All summer long it's either a feast or famine situation when the water is very low or very high. Is it because of them? I'm not really sure, but apparently it seems to have a lot to do with what's going on here today.”

People who live on the lake said the waters have receded about four inches since Tuesday morning, but many of them say they're cancelling their Father's Day plans because it's just too wet.

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