Great Lakes Water Levels and News

Bill's Blog

Lake Michigan sunset from Marie Steffen

Great Lakes water levels have risen over the last two weeks, with the exception of Lake Ontario.

The graphs below are 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.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Superior

The water level of Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month, but is down 6″ in the last year. It’s 10″ above the June average water level and 6″ below the highest June water level, which was last year (2019).

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Michigan/Huron

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 2″ in the last month and up 4″ in the last year. The lakes are 35″ higher than the June average and it’s now 4″ higher than the previous record high water level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie is up 3″ in the last month, but down 2″ year-to-year. The level is 29″ above the average June water level and 2″ below the record high water level set in 2019.

Graph of the water level of Lake St. Clair

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

Rainfall Difference from Average Last 30 Days

Here’s Rainfall Difference from Average over the last 30 days. Rainfall has been a little below average over the Southern and Eastern Great Lakes and near to above average rainfall in much of Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. Much of the Great Lakes had above average precipitation from April 1 to May 31.

International Bridge between Canada and the U.S. around 3:30 pm on Fri. 6 19 20

The pic. above is the International Bridge over the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie. With the border still “closed” – the bridge is empty.

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have well above average flow and that will continue through the summer. The St. Mary’s River, that flows from Lake Superior into Lake Huron (Michigan/Huron) has a flow of 91,300 cubic feet per second. That’s well above average, but down from around 97,000 cfs earlier this spring. The St. Clair River at Port Huron has a flow of 253,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 187,000 cfs. The Detroit River at Detroit has a flow of 275,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 195,000 cfs.

Rivers in the Great Lakes area are near to above average flow. However, a week of sunny, dry weather is causing river levels to go down. The Grand River at Grand Rapids has a flow of 4,290 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,710 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 954 cfs, compared to an average flow of 772 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles has a flow of 3,250 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,150 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 1,990 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,920 cfs. The Tittawabassee River at Midland has a flow of 1,250 cfs, compared to an average flow of 947 cfs. The Fox River at Appleton WI has a flow of 7,620 cfs, compared to an average flow of 6,270 cfs.

Great Lakes News: Great Lakes buoy data. Lake Michigan water level expected to hold steady in the next month. Michigan Tech to hold Great Lakes conference next May. The ultimate guide to Great Lakes fishing. High water levels limit beach access. NASA shows extent of Midland Mi flooding. They’re still trying to put wind turbines in the Great Lakes. Mysterious Lake Huron sinkholes. Asian carp update. New buoys. Mackinac Island opening up. 93 waterfalls at this park. These beaches are closed. Lake Michigan ferries are running again. Sailboat race set for July. Manitou Island ferries will not run this season. Isle Royale N.P. ready to open. Steel production drops 17%. Uh-oh – red swamp crayfish.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Weather Tools