Great Lakes Water Levels (Going Down)

Bill's Blog

The above pic. was sunset Friday evening, Oct. 9, 2020. There were dozens of people on the beach – along with a handful of surfers, paddleboarders and kite surfers. There were several boats that went up and down the channel. There were walkers and a jogger or two…everyone enjoying the last bit of sun before it disappeared below the horizon.

Some good news. An overall dry weather pattern has allowed the very high Great Lakes water levels to drop a bit.

Graph – Water Level of Lake Superior

The water level of Lake Superior is down 2″ in the last month and down 4″ in the last year. The lake is still 9″ above the average October level, but now 6″ below the record high October level set in 1985.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Michigan/Huron

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is down 4″ in the last month and down one inch from Oct. 2019. The lake is still 32″ above the October average level, but it’s now 9″ below the record highest level reached in October 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie is down 6″ in the last month and down 3″ year-to-year. The lake is 25″ higher than the average October water level, but it’s now 9″ below the record highest October level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Ontario

The water level of Lake Ontario is down 7″ in the last month and down 13″ in the last year. The level is only 4″ higher than the October average level and it’s 20″ below the highest October level reached in 1945.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is down 9″ in the last month and it’s 4″ lower than one year ago. The lake is still 28″ above the October average, but it’s 9″ below the all-time record level set in Octoger 1986.

Niagara Falls – on the Niagara River taking water from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have above average flow and that will continue through the winter. The St. Mary’s River had a flow of 108,000 cfs Friday night. The Detroit River had a flow of 253,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 199,000 cfs.

The Muskegon River at Croton and the St. Joseph River at Niles have both fallen a little bit below average flow. The Muskegon River has a flow of 1,280 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,340 cfs. The St. Joseph River has a flow of 1,850 cfs compared to an average flow of 2,070 cfs.

Other rivers remain a little above average flow: The Grand River at Grand Rapids has a flow of 2,710 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,830 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 704 cfs, compared to an average flow of 637 cfs. The Saginaw River has a flow of 2,480 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,370 cfs. The Fox River at Green Bay, WI has a flow of 5,180 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,190 cfs.

GREAT LAKES NEWS: Lake Michigan drownings surge to new high. The latest from Boatnerd. The fight over Sleeping Bear Dunes. Algae update. Will we have unmanned boats? Michigan’s Anishinaabe history. How fish and other aquatic species utilize Great Lakes shipwrecks. Underwater robot. The longest microtunneling project in the United States. Fall bird migration. Record waterspout outbreak. Green Bay replaces 2,000 lead pipes. Sheppler’s new 4 million dollar jet ferry. Green ooze. Lake Superior caribou numbers growing. Tales of the Northwest Territory.

AND: A Tale of Two Coastlines: Desalination in China and California. Will this volcano erupt again?

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