Latest Great Lakes Water Levels and News

Bill's Blog

High Lake Michigan water level

The above pic. shows the high water level of Lake Michigan. Note – in reading 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 Lake Michigan Water Level

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is down 1″ in the last month. It’s up 17″ year-to-year and is now 36″ higher than the December average level. The level is now tied with 1986 for highest December level in the last 100 years. You’ll see some ups and downs in the fall, winter and spring when we have a strong wind episode and the level fluctuates.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Superior

The water level of Lake Superior is also down 1″ in the last month. It’s up 4″ in the last year and is now 14″ above the December average. The lake is 2″ below the highest December level reached in 1985.

Graph of Lake Erie Water Level

The water level of Lake Erie is down 1″ in the last month, but still 2″ higher than one year ago. The level is 29″ higher than the average for December, but it’s 10″ below the record December level set in 1986.

Graph of Lake Ontario Water Level

The water level of Lake Ontario is down 4″ in the last month, but up 11″ in the last year. The level is 17″ higher than the December average level, but is 9″ lower than the highest December level reached in 1945.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is down 4″ in the last month, but is up 6″ in the last year. The level is 28″ higher than the average level for December, but is 7″ below the record December level set in 1986. Lake St. Clare had a pretty solid ice cover in Jan. and Feb. of 2019, so you can see the level bouncing around a little at that time.

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have well above average flow. The St. Clair River at Port Huron has a flow of 258,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 189,000 cfs. That’s 136.5% of average flow.

Many rivers in the Great Lakes continue to have well above average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a current (Mon. evening) flow of 6,700 cfs (average flow is 2,640 cfs). That’s more than 2 1/2 times average flow. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 2,700 cfs (average – 1,729 cfs). The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 1,190 cfs (average is 824 cfs). The St. Joseph River at Niles has a flow of 4,520 cfs (average is 2,840 cfs). The Saginaw River at Saginaw has a flow of 4,010 cfs (averge is 3,080 cfs). The Fox River at Appleton has a flow of 8,230 cfs (average is 3,449 cfs).

GREAT LAKES NEWS: Crews install cement seawalls along lakeshore. Coast Guard begins ice breaking on the Great Lakes. Three earthquakes under Lake Erie in the past week. A silver lining. Detroit named one of the best fishing cities in the U.S. Million dollar donation buys “floating classroom“. No live invasive carp were discovered in the Chicago Area Waterway System during a November survey of more than 150 sites. House passes Huizenga amended legislation to protect Great Lakes communities from erosion. New Manure Rules. Two birding groups seek to stop wind turbines from being placed in Lake Erie. Sea stack vanishes in winter storm. No major impacts on Lake Superior found from Line 3 pipeline.

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