Friday Updated Great Lakes Water Levels

Bill's Blog
A photo of a sidewalk ripped up at Holland State Park on Nov. 28, 2019.

A photo of a sidewalk ripped up at Holland State Park on Nov. 28, 2019.

The Wednesday storm produced a few wind gusts over 60 mph. The strong west wind produced a standing seiche on Lake Michigan. The wind pushed the water toward the Michigan coast. The water level rose in W. Michigan and fell in Wisconsin.

A photo of a sidewalk ripped up by water from Lake Michigan at Holland State Park on Nov. 28, 2019.
A photo of a sidewalk ripped up by water from Lake Michigan at Holland State Park on Nov. 28, 2019.

The combination of the higher water level and huge waves (10.9 feet at the mid-Lake Michigan buoy) caused beach erosion, some local flooding and some damage.

lloyd's bayou flooding
Flooding along Lloyd’s Bayou in Spring Lake Township. (Nov. 19, 2019)

The water level of the Great Lakes remains much higher than average, but below record levels.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Superior

The water level of Lake Superior is down 3″ in the last month, up 3″ in the last year and is now 13″ higher than the November average level. It’s now 4″ below the highest November level ever recorded back in 1925.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Michigan/Huron

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is down 2″ in the last month, but up 16″ year-to-year. The level is 33″ higher than the November average, but 6″ below the highest November level reached in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie is also down 2″ in the last month. It’s 3″ higher than the level one year ago and is now 26″ above the average November level. The lake is 7″ lower than the highest November level also reached in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is down 2″ in the last month, but up 13″ from one year ago. The level is 18″ above the average November level, but 7″ below the record level set in 1945.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is down 3″ in the last month, but up 7″ from one year ago. The level is 30″ higher than the average November level, but is still 6″ below the highest November level also set in 1986.

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have well above average flow. The flow on the St. Clair River at Port Huron is at 269,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow for November of 191,000 cfs.

Wednesday rain totaled 1.34″ in Grand Rapids. The additional rain has caused rivers to rise again. The Grand River at Grand Rapids has a flow of 9,640 cfs – that’s 3.3 times the average flow of 2,880 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 5,240 cfs and that’s 2.6 times the average flow of 1,980 cfs. The Saginaw River at Saginaw has a flow of 17,400 cfs and that’s a whopping 5.6 times the average flow of 3,120 cfs. The Fox River at Appleton WI has a flow of 8,570 cfs, compared to an average flow of 4,110 cfs.

GREAT LAKES NEWS: Plan to dredge Grand River put on hold. Erosion at Indiana Dunes. Strong winds cause damage at Lake Michigan park.

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