Great Lakes Water Levels Mostly Lower

Bill's Blog
Kirk Park high water

High water levels at Kirk park along Lake Michigan in June 2019. (Michael Buck/WOOD TV8)

The above photo shows high water at Kirk Park in Ottawa County, Michigan on Lake Michigan…not much beach right now.

Water levels on the Great Lakes are (mostly) dropping, which is the norm in late summer and fall.

Water level graph of Lake Superior

The water level of Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month…the only Great Lake that did not see a drop in the last 30 days. Superior is 9″ higher than one year ago, 12″ higher than the average August level and exactly at the highest level for August last set in 2007.

Water level of Lake Michigan/Huron

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is down 3″ in the last month, but up 15″ from one year ago. The level is 30″ higher than the August average, but is 3″ below the record August level set in 1986.

Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie is down 5″ in the last month, but up 12″ in the last year. The lake is 29″ above the August average level and 3″ higher than the previous August record set in 1986.

Water Level of Lake Ontario

The water level of Lake Ontario peaked in June. The level is down 12″ in the last month, but still up 23″ in the last year. The lake is 23″ above the August average level and 4″ below the August record level set in 1947. Lake Ontario’s output has been reduced.

Lake St. Clair water level graph

Lake St. Clair is down 4″ in the last month, up 13″ in the last year and is now 31″ above the average August level. The lake is 2″ higher than the previous August record set in 1986.

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes continue to have well above average flow and that will continue well into next year. The St. Clair River at Port Huron has a flow of 251,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow for 8/25 of 191,000 cfs. That’s 131% of average flow.

Here’s some river flow readings compared to average flow as of early AM 8/25: Grand River at Grand Rapids 1,520 cfs – average is 1,620 cfs. Muskegon River at Croton 1,120 cfs – average is 1,260 cfs. Kalamazoo River at Comstock 539 cfs – average is 553 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles 2,220 cfs – average is 1,930 cfs. The Saginaw River at Midland is at 4,530 cfs – average is 1,690 cfs. The Fox River at Appleton WI is at 5,230 cfs – average is 1,690 cfs.

Great Lakes News: A trip around a Great Lake (it’s the NY Times, so you may run into a pay wall). Algae anxiety in SW Michigan a “false alarm“. Two Million Gallon Sewage Spill. A “king’s ransom” in Petoskey stones. Army Corps of Engineers on the high water levels of the Great Lakes (I’m still worried about beach erosion and shoreline flooding if we get an “Edmund Fitzgerald-like” windstorm. All eye’s on Grand Traverse Bay. Underwater robots in the Great Lakes. Asian carp update. 60 toxic algae blooms. Diverting Lake Michigan water. Drones to study Lake Michigan. Ammonia and cyanide spills into Lake Michigan. Meteorologist dies at age 49. Eat more fish.

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