The Great Lakes have lost 25 TRILLION gallons of water in just the last year. You can see the difference between this year and last year in the pictures above from Covert Township, Michigan on Lake Michigan. There are more pictures comparing beaches in 2020 and 2021 at this link. The phenomenal dip in lake levels is overwhelmingly due to below average precipitation.
The rivers that connect the Great Lakes continue to have above average flow as the lakes continue to “drain”. The St. Mary’s River at S. Ste. Marie has a flow (early Sun. AM) of 81,700 cubic feet per second. The average flow is 79,500 cfs, so the flow is 103% of average. The St. Clair River at Port Huron has a flow of 221,000 cfs. Average is 198,000 cfs, so that’s 112% of average. The Detroit River at Detroit has a flow of 235,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 212,000 cfs, so that’s 111% of average flow.
Non-connecting rivers have lower or much lower volumes right now. The Grand River at Grand Rapids has a flow of 1,660 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,439 cfs. That’s just 48% of average flow. The St. Joseph River at Niles MI has a flow of 1,800 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,610 cfs – that’s 50% of average flow. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock MI has a flow of 499 cfs – compared to an average flow of 894 cfs – that’s 56% of average flow. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 1,190 cfs. Average is 2,060 cfs., so that’s 58% of average flow.
The Saginaw River at Bay City has a flow of 2,210 cfs – 73% of average flow. The Fox River at Appleton WI has a flow of 4,150 cfs and that’s 68% of average flow.
Check out the Lake Michigan Beach Guide. The record high water caused some bluffs to collapse. Four beaches are actually smaller this year, and three remain closed entirely: Casco Township Nature Preserve, Douglas Beach and Kouw Park. Which Lake Michigan parks allow dogs. Douglas Beach opens with new stairs. Pregnant woman rescues 3 children at beach. What is a “pneumonia front”? Temperature roller coaster at Lake Michigan. Best hikes to the beach. Traffic light system on Lake Michigan beach.