Great Lakes – Record Water Levels and Still Rising!

Bill's Blog
Lake Ontario Water Level GLERL_1558730175668.JPG.jpg

The water levels of the Great Lakes are at record or near record highs and are continue to rise.  Lakes Superior, Erie, Ontario and St. Clair are at record levels for the month of June.   Look at the graph above of Lake Ontario.  That is a spectacular rise…up 21″ in just one month!  Ontario is up 24 inches in the last year and is 0″” above the average June level.

This is the graph of the water level of Lake Superior.  It’s up 5″ in the last month (nearly 3 TRILLION gallons of water added to the lake in just one month – from rainfall and snowmelt).  The lake is up a foot in the last year and is now 15″ higher than the June average and 3″ higher than the previous record high level for the month of June.

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 7″ in the last month, up 13″ in the last year and is now 29″ above the June average level.  The lake is still 2″ below the June record level of 1986, but it is expected to continue to rise another couple inches in the next month. 

Lake Erie is up 83″ in the last month, up 9 ” year-to-year and is now 30″ higher than the June average level.  It’s now 3″ higher than it has ever been in the month of June!

Lake St. Clair is up 2″ in the last month, up 10″ in the last year and is 30″ higher than the June average level and 1″ higher than it has ever been in the month of June. 

The high water levels are causing flooding, especially wind strong winds push the water toward one side of a lake or the other.  Water is backing up into all the rivers and lakes that connect to the Great Lakes.  Water is also much more apt to crash over piers and breakwaters, presenting the danger of someone being washed off into the water.  Great Lakes water temperatures are mostly colder than average for this time of year. 

High water is a mostly good thing for Great Lakes shipping, as we don’t need to dredge as much and ships can carry more weight (ride lower in the water).  However, it means boaters have to be cautious.  Objects (like logs) that are usually above the water may now be just below the water and hard to see.  The high water means beach erosion that may threaten some homes and cottages.  It also means less beach to play on. 

Many rivers that empty into the Great Lakes are running at close to double average flow:  Grand River at Grand Rapids 7,400 cubic feet per second (average is 3,690 cfs).  Kalamazoo River at Comstock 1,800 cfs vs. avg. 924 cfs.  The Saginaw River at Saginaw 7,050 cfs vs. avg. 4,240 cfs.  The Fox River at Green Bay 9,260 cfs vs. 4,340 cfs.  The St. Clair River 247,000 cfs vs. avg. 189,000 cfs.  The rain we’re getting now will only make rivers go up.  As I write this, I’ve had another 1.5″ of rain – over 6″ for the month of May at my house and we’re getting moderate to heavy rain right now (2:20 am).

The rain Friday night won’t help.  Vassar in Tuscola Co. MI had 4.32″ of rain, Saginaw 2.45″.  I had 1.45″ in just 3 hours at my house in Comstock Park MI.  Here’s storm total rainfall from Friday night:

Great Lakes News:  Asian carp update. State of Emergency declared for the counties surrounding Lake OntarioLake Superior water level so high that NE wind cause the St. Louis River to flow backwardsGreat Lakes water very cold – colder than average for late MayThree friends paddling across all five Great LakesGreat Lakes Restoration InitiativeOver 100 freighters transport iron ore around the Great LakesFree Coast Guard apFirst Great Lakes bulk carrier to be built in over 30 yearsHigh-Tech buoysShipwrecks.  The new Great Lake to Great Lake trail.  Northern Lights above the Great LakesThe deadly “freak wave” of 1954.  The Battle of Lake ErieGreat Lakes Morel MushroomsSandhill cranes.  Fishing the Detroit River.  $75 million for the Soo Locks. Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker.  Safe Boating Week.  When Niagara Falls ran dryTurning the Chicago lakeshore into a national park? (shifts costs from the city to the Federal govt.?).  High water sinking lakeshore businessesThe Great Snake of Lake ErieExploring the depths of Lake HuronThe beautiful Boundary Waters.  Coast Guard update.  Contaminated dam.  Pilots make a lot of money!  New technology to search for Great Lakes shipwrecks

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