Great Lakes Water Levels

Bill's Blog

The water levels of the Great Lakes range from above average to record high levels.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Superior

Above is a graph of the water level of Lake Superior. The pins on the map reveal plots of the current year’s daily lake levels (blue) compared with last year’s levels (black) and last year’s annual average (dark red). The monthly averages are shown as a step plot through the daily averages. Plotted in the background are the coordinated (official) averages (green), record highs (cyan), and record lows (brown). The level is up 3″ in the last month, but down 3″ in the last year. The lake is 10″ higher than the August average level and 2″ below the average August level of 2019.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Michigan

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is the same as it was one month ago, but it’s up 3″ in the past year. The level is 34″ above the average level. It’s now 2″ above the highest August average level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie is down 3″ in the last month and down 3″ in the last year. The lake is now 28″ higher than the average August level and just one inch below the highest August average level set last year.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Ontario

The water level of Lake Ontario is also down 3″ in the last month. However, the level is 20″ lower than one year ago (a big drop). The level is 9″ above the average water level for August, but it’s 18″ below he highest average August level set in 1947.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is unchanged in the last month and up 2″ in the last year. The lake is 34″ higher than the average August water level. It’s now 3″ higher than the highest August average level of 2019.

International Bridge – entering Canada Friday PM 8/7/20

The pic. above is the International Bridge at S. Ste. Marie. With the COVID pandemic, traffic across the border has been well below average.

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have well above average flow and that trend should continue probably through the rest of the year. The flow on the St. Mary’s River at S. Ste. Marie has increased to 95,400 cubic feet per second. The flow on the St. Clair River at Port Huron is at 272,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 200,000 cfs.

Rogue River Dam in Rockford, Michigan

The pic. above taken by me is the Rogue River in downtown Rockford, Michigan. Most rivers in Michigan continue to have above average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a flow of 2,710 cfs, compared to an average flow for earlyoi August of 1,620 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 1,290 cfs compared to an average flow of 1,180 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 906 cfs, compared to a flow of 560 cfs. The St. Joseph River has a flow of 2,530 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,210 cfs. The Tittawabassee River at Midland has a flow of 734 cfs, compared to an average flow of 502 cfs and the Fox River at Appleton WI has a flow of 3,430 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,000 cfs for early August.

Took time to get the kayak out Fri. evening. I saw an eagle, a great blue heron, lots of turtles, a couple of jumping fish, a young girl doing trick water skiing. The wind was east when I left my house. When I got on the lake, the wind was west, as the lake breeze had penetrated inland. Some good surface convergence where the land breeze met the lake breeze, but the air was too dry to make anything but a row of scattered cumulus clouds. Some beautiful, thin scattered cirrus arrived before sunset, producing a sun dog to the right of the sun.

Today (Sat.) is my first day back at the station since March 12. I have to relearn what I have forgotten and learn everything that’s changed, reset passwords, check the snail mail that’s accumulated over these 5 months. For right now, I’m still doing the “man-cave” three days a week and I’ll start doing Sat. and Sun. at the station.

Thanks for reading my blog.

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