The Latest Great Lakes Water Levels, Ice Extent and News

Bill's Blog

Here’s sunset Saturday (4/4/20) evening at Muskegon – from Ron Topper.

The graphs below 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.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Superior

The water level of Lake Superior is up 1″ in the past month. So far snowmelt around Lake Superior has come without heavy rain. The level of Superior is 2″ higher than one year ago and 13″ above the April average level. It’s 3″ below the April record level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Michigan/Huron

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 3″ in the last month. The level is 15″ higher than it was one year ago – that’s a lot. It’s 35″ higher than the average April level and it’s now 2″ higher than the record April lake level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie is up 6″ in the last month and it’s 12″ higher than one year ago. The level is 33″ higher than the April average and it’s 3″ higher than the record April level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Ontario

The water level of Lake Ontario is up 5″ in the last month and up 8″ year-to-year. The lake is 14″ higher than the average April level, but the lake is 16″ LOWER than the record April level set in 1973.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is up 7″ in the last month, up 13″ in the last year and is now 35″ higher than the average April level. It’s now 5″ higher than the record high April average level set in 1986.

All the rivers that flow between the Great Lakes have well above average flow and that will continue through the summer. The St. Clair River has a flow of 273,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 189,000 cfs. The Detroit River has a flow of 281,000 cfs compared to an average flow of 194,000 cfs.

The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a flow of 10,300 cfs, compared to an average flow of 6,710 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 3,650 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,530 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock is at 2,150 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,350 cfs. The St. Joseph River has a flow of 6,610 cfs, compared to an average flow of 5,010 cfs. The Saginaw River at Saginaw has a flow of 8,090 cfs, compared to an average flow of 8,200 cfs. The Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin has a flow of 14,500 cfs compared to an average flow of 7,090 cfs.

Great Lakes Ice Extent

Great Lakes ice extent is below average for early April. Most of the ice that is left is in the North Channel of Lake Huron.

Green Bay high water
High water along the Green Bay shoreline. (WBAY)

Great Lakes News: Lake Michigan to rise 4″ in the next month (my own guess would be 2″). Great Lakes freighters take precautions for coronavirus. Shutting down charter boat fishing. Great Lakes Museum provides virtual tours. Coronavirus affecting Great Lakes energy. Returning the Arctic Grayling to Michigan.

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