Great Lakes Water Levels and News

Bill's Blog
High water levels and big waves

The water levels of the Great Lakes remain very high, but still below record levels for November. The graphs below 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) per month as documented here along with additional water level data.

Graph of Water Level of Lake Superior

The water level of Lake Superior is down 4″ in the last month and up 1″ from one year ago. The level is still 13″ above the average November level, but 4″ below the record November level set in 1985.

Lake Michigan-Huron Water Level Graph

The water level of Lake Michigan-Huron is unchanged in the last month and up 16″ from one year ago. The level is 35″ higher than the November long-term average, but 4″ below the record November level of 1986.

Lake Erie Water Level Graph

The water level of Lake Erie is down 2″ in the last month, but up 4″ in the lasts year. The level is 26″ higher than the November average level, but 7″ below the record level for November set in 1986.

Lake Ontario Water Level Graph

The water level of Lake Ontario rose 2″ in the last month and is 17″ higher than one year ago. The level is 20″ higher than the November average level, but 5″ below the record November level set in 1945.

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have well above average flow and that will continue well into 2020 and probaby beyond. The St. Clair River at Port Huron has a flow of 277,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 193,000 cfs for this time of year.

Most Great Lakes rivers have well above average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids (as of Sat. AM) has a flow of 6,160 cfs compared to an average flow of 2,340 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 1,130 cfs compared to an average flow of 756 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles has a flow of 4,760 cfs, about double the average flow of 2,420 cfs. The Saginaw River at Saginaw has a flow of 7,930 cfs – more than 3 times the average flow of 2,430 cfs. The Fox River at Appleton WI has a flow of 8,440 cfs compared to an average flow of 3,760 cfs.

GREAT LAKES NEWS – Diverting Great Lakes water to Colorado…IMHO – most of the time this is not a good idea…but considering how high the levels are now…and that the water just flows out to the ocean, there are times when a small diversion for a significant ROI might be worth considering. Beaver Island once had its own king. We’re not talking salmon here. Prehistoric sea scorpions in the Great Lakes. Lake Michigan’s Shipwreck Graveyard. Arctic air coming over relatively warm water produces “steam”. Here’s a pic. of the Mackinac Bridge surrounded by the steam (aka “Arctic sea smoke”). Lake Michigan shipwreck could be world’s ‘most intact wooden schooner’ ever found. Green Bay man remembers uncle, crewman on Edmund Fitzgerald. Annual ceremony remembers mariners lost on the Great Lakes. Asian carp DNA in the Chicago River.

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