Great Lakes Water Levels and News

Bill's Blog
park township house on bluff

A home in Park Township is close to falling into Lake Michigan. (Nov. 21, 2019)

This house near Holland MI is about to fall into Lake Michigan. High water levels and fall storms have eroded away the bluff. This is similar to what happened during the high water period of 1985-87.

Here’s the Fri. 11/22 Great Lakes water levels. 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) per month as documented here along with additional water level data.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Superior This Year

The water level of Lake Superior is down 4″ in the last month (good news!). It’s still 12″ higher than one year ago and 12″ above the Nov. average. The lake is 4″ below the record high November level set in 1985.

Lake Michigan/Huron Water Level Graph for 2019

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron – one big lake for lake level-purposes – is down 2″ in the last month. However, it’s 16″ higher than one year ago and 33″ higher than the long-term November average. The lake is 6″ below the record November level of 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie for 2019

The water level of Lake Erie is unchanged in the last month, but up 4″ year-to-year. It’s 26″ higher than the November average level, but 7″ below the record level of 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Ontario for 2019

The water level of Lake Ontario is up 1″ in the last month, up 16″ in the last year and is now 19″ above the November average level. The lake is 6″ below the record November level set in 1945.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is unchanged in the lst month, but up 9″ from one year ago. The lake is 31″ above the average November level, but 5″ below the record water level set in 1986.

Soo Locks

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have well above average flow. The St. Clair River at Port Huron MI has a flow of 262,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 190,000 cfs. Pic. above is the Soo Locks.

Despite below average precipitation over much of the Western Lakes in November, many river levels are still well above average flow (it takes a while to drain the land. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is currently at 6,110 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,620 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton is at 2,930 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,690 cfs for Nov. 22. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock is at 1,290 cfs compared to an average of 800 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles has a current flow of 4,770 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,640 cfs. The Saginaw River at Saginaw has a flow of 6,130 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,980 cfs and the Fox River at Appleton WI has a current flow of 8,420 cfs, compared to an average flow of 4,320 cfs.

Note: You can see me in the Grand Rapids Art Van Santa Parade and in the Hudsonville Holiday Parade. Feel free to come up and say “hi”.

GREAT LAKES NEWS: Home demolished before it falls into Lake Michigan. Why fall storms trigger more erosion on the Great Lakes. Plastic debris washes up on beach. Geologist: Erosion, bluff collapses will continue. Up to 100 feet of beach has been lost. Raffle offers vacation aboard a 1,000-foot Great Lakes freighter. Asian carp update. Diving the 5 Great Lakes in 24 hours. Keeping a sewage spill secret? Algae update. Fish with hearing loss. Salmon stocking up.

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