Heavy rains over the weekend caused the water level on Lake Hopatcong to rise rapidly, causing a New Jersey State Police high-water restriction as the gage height at the dam surpassed 9.5 feet. The high-water status means any boats traveling on the lake must go at a restricted speed, producing no wake.
Last year, it took several months for the lake to return to normal levels after the winter drawdown, and the level didn’t reach the gage height of the dam at the State Park until late June. This year, the water replenished itself in what could be record time.
The weekend storm resulted in power outages for thousands, countless fallen trees, and flooding on streets and in homes throughout the area. For many lake residents, a big fear was the floating ice that remains on the lake, which slammed into shorelines as wind speeds regularly hit more than 30 knots, risking damage to docks. At the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club, at least two of the docks were victim to the ice floes, and numerous residents are reporting docks damaged or missing altogether.
A breech alongside a dam on Lake Shawnee had some Lake Hopatcong residents concerned about downstream flooding, but officials in Jefferson Township said today that the situation was being addressed and the impact of the incident on Hopatcong is expected to be minimal.
Regardless, the water that poured from the sky did more than enough to surge water levels on the lake, and residents are advised to be cautious when boating.