Great Lakes Water Levels and News

Bill's Blog

Grand Rapids recorded no precipitation during the first week of May and the dry pattern should continue into early next week. We also had 78% sunshine and relative humidities as low as 15%. Winds averaged a healthy 10 mph and evaporation rates were above average. This is good news for those folks dealing with high water levels. (beautiful Lake Michigan sunset pic. by Ron Topping).

Note on the graphs below: The links below and 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) per month as documented here along with additional water level data. Daily levels are from each lake’s master gauge, produced by NOAA/NOS/CO-OPS.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Superior

The water level of Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month, but down 3″ in the last year. The lake is 11″ higher than the May average level and is 5″ below the record highest May average set last year.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Michigan/.Huron

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 1″ in the last week, up 2″ in the lasts month and is up 9″ in the last year. The level is 34″ higher than the May average. The lakes are 3″ higher than the highest May record average level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie is unchanged in the last month and it’s up 1″ year-to-year. The lake is 29″ higher than the May average level and is even with the highest average May level set in 2019.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Ontario

The water level of Lake Ontario is in better shape than the other Great Lakes. It’s up 4″ in the last month, but it’s also 6″ lower than one, year ago. It’s 14″ higher than the average May level, but it’s 16″ below the record May level set in 2017.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is up 2″ in the last month and up 3″ in the last year. The level is 32″ higher than the average May level and 3″ higher than the record May level set in 2019.

S. Ste. Marie International Bridge 5 8 20

This is the International Bridge in S. Ste. Marie. Once again – no vehicles. The temperature at noon here was 32 with a wind chill of 20 and occasional light flurries. Thee flow on the St. Mary’s River at S. Ste. Marie is currently 103,000 cubic feet per second. The flow on the St. Clair River at Port Huron is 264,000 cfs compared to an average flow of 181 cfs.

Great Lakes ice extent

The ice is almost gone..still a bit of ice in Black Bay and Nipigon Bay in northwest Lake Superior. Farther north, Lake Nipigon is mostly ice-covered.

Most rivers are still a little above average flow, but they are dropping. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is at 5,390 cfs, compared to an average flow for the second week of May of 4,220 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton is at 3,360 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,910 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock is at 1,330 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,030 cfs. The St. Joseph River is currently at 4,650 cfs, compared an average flow of 4,430 cfs. The Tittabawassee River at Midland has a flow of 2,250 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,990 cfs…and the Fox River at Green Bay, WI has a flow of 5,960 cfs, compared to an average flow of 5,720 cfs.

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