Great Lakes Water Levels, Ice Extent and News

Bill's Blog

Here’s a Lake Michigan satellite picture from midday Saturday 2/22/20. It was an unusually clear day across the Great Lakes. There was only one time in all of 2019 when Grand Rapids had back-to-back days with 100% sunshine. Friday and today (Sat.) we’ve had a decent breeze and we’ve had relatively high evaporation on the Great Lakes.

Graph of Lake Superior Water Level

The water level of Lake Superior is down 2″ in the last month. Right now, water is leaving Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River, but it’s been cold enough that precipitation, in the form of snow, as stayed on the ground and not become runoff into the rivers. Superior is up 3″ in the last year and is now 15″ higher than the February average. The lake is now 1″ higher than the current record highest average February level set in 1986.

Graph of Lake Michigan Water Level

The water level of Lake Michigan is unchanged in the last month, but up 17″ in the last year (that’s a LOT!). The level is 39″ higher than the February average level and 6″ higher than the previous February record monthly level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie rose 5″ in the last month. The lake is a foot higher than it was a year ago and is 37″ higher than the February average level. The lake is also 6″ higher than the previous record February average level set in 1987.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Ontario

The water level of Lake Ontario is up 4″ in the last month and up 6″ in the last year. The lake is 20″ higher than the February average level, but 6″ below the record February level set in 1952.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is up 4″ in the last month and up 14″ in the last year. The lake is 40″ higher than the February average level and right at the previous February record high level set in 1986.

Soo Locks webcam 2 22 20 – from the Army Corps of Engineers

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have much above average flow. The Detroit River at Detroit has a flow of 251,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average Feb. flow of 159,000 cubic feet per second. That’s 158% of average flow.

Many rivers in the Great Lakes also have above average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a current flow of 5,240 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,880 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a current flow of 1,260 cfs, compared to an average flow of 960 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles has a current flow of 5,110 cfs, compared to an average flow of 4,200 cfs. The Fox River at Appleton WI has a flow of 5,790 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,800 cfs. When the ground is saturated, a higher percentage of precipitation becomes runoff into the rivers.

Point Betsie Lighthouse

Great Lakes News: Trying to protect the Point Betsie Lighthouse. Politicians tour shore to see beach erosion. Erosion control bill. Building a sea wall. New no-wake zones. Millions needed to fix roads damaged by high water levels. High water swamping communities. Back when “climate change” was causing low water levels on the Great Lakes. “Backyards are disappearing overnight”. The simple answer to this question is “yes”. Yup. Public beach rights on Lake Michigan. Selling Great Lakes water to lower the water levels. Photos of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. 600,000 pounds of debris found at the bottom of the Soo Locks. Calumet Beach in Chicago is completely underwater. “Cloud streets” on Lake Superior. Sleeping Bear Dunes at 50 years old. Aerial view of erosion on Lake Michigan. Anglers oppose wind turbines in the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes Ice Extent

Great Lakes ice extent is below average. Including this year, we have had above average winter ice on the Great Lakes in four of the last seven years.

Great Lakes ice extent

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