As you can see from the graph above, Great Lakes water levels have dropped significantly and despite higher than average precipitation, they should continue to hold steady or perhaps even undergo further slow decline.
Here’s the Lake Superior satellite pic. from Sat. afternoon. Note the snow cover around Lake Superior. Here’s some Saturday snow depths: Painesdale 43″ (3.2″ new snow), Three Lakes 32″, Herman 30″, Munising and Quincy Hill 26″, Houghton (airport) 24″, Marquette (airport) and Big Bay 19″ (3.8″ new snow at Marquette), Champion, Michgamme and Clarksburg 17″, Paulding 16″, Watersmeet 15″, Amasa, Dollar Bay, Greenland and Steuben 14″, Watton 13″, Sawyer and Ishpeming 12″, Carlshead, Ontonagon 9″, Ironwood 6″, Baraga and Harvey 5″, Iron Mt., Green Garden and Vanderbilt (most in Lower MI) 4″, Manistique 3″, Norway, Gladstone, Gaylord and Rapid River 2″, Fremont and Hart 1″ (Saturday morning, it melted during the day), also down to 1″ at Sault Ste. Marie, Fife Lake, Mancelona, Stambaugh, Kingsley, Newberry and North Pole.
There are 6 ski areas in Michigan – 5 in the U.P. and Boyne Mt. in Lower Michigan that are still open. Mt. Bohemia still has a 60″ base. If you go skiing on Easter – make sure you check out the bunny hill.
This is the latest map of Great Lakes ice extent. However, I just got in some new numbers. Great Lakes Ice Extent is down to 7.8%. Here’s the breakdown by lake: Superior 10.6%, Michigan 5.3%, Huron 11.7%. Zero for the rest of the Great Lakes. The peak Great Lakes ice extent this winter was 56.1% on Feb. 26. That’s 3% above the average maximum ice extent.
Here’s the Great Lakes satellite picture…clouds in Lower Michigan and extreme eastern Wisconsin.
The water level of Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month, but down 11″ in the last year (a lot). The lake is 4″ BELOW the April average level and 20″ below the record April level of 1986. Now, because the level of Lake Superior is below average, the water flowing out of Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River to Lake Michigan/Huron is also below average. In fact, it’s currently well below average – with a flow of 42,100 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 78,700 cfs. So, the low is only 53.5% of average.
At the other end of Lake Huron, the flow on the St. Clair River at Port Huron was flowing at 219,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average April flow of 194,000 cfs. That’s 113% of average flow. So, there is less water coming into the lakes, more going out…so the water level of Lake Huron/Michigan isn’t going to rise significantly this summer. Here’s some numbers:
The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is down 12″ in the last year, though up 4″ in the last month due to above average precipitation. It’s just 9″ above the April average level, but the level is 26″ below the highest April level set two years ago in 2020.
The water level of Lake Erie is also up 4″ in the last month. It’s down 1″ in the last year and stands 13″ above the April average. However, it’s 18″ below the record level of 2020.
Lake Ontario is up 5″ in the lst month and up 20″ in the last year. It’s 7″ above the April average and 22″ below the highest April level set in 1973.
Finally, Lake St. Clair is up 3″ in the last month, but down 5″ in the last year. It’s 13″ above the highest April level of 2920.
Because of the combination of higher than average precipitation, more cloudiness, higher humidity, wet soils that allow more runoff and less evaporation…area rivers are higher than average:
The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a flow of 10,700 cfs. If you’ve driven by the river, you know it’s high. Average flow for April is 5,890. So the flow now (Sun. AM) is 182% of average. the Muskegon River at Croton is at 5,860 cfs – average is 3,700 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 1,790 cfs. Average there is 1,320 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles was at 6,730 cfs, compared to an average flow of 5,030 cfs.
Across the state, the Saginaw River at Saginaw has a flow of 20,200 cfs. Average is 8,040 cfs, so the river there is running at 251% of average flow (high). The Fox River at Appleton WI has a flow of 10,900 cfs, compared to an average flow of 7,110 cfs.
ALSO: Grand Rapids taking bids on Grand River restoration. Grand Rapids Public Schools may bring back “canoe learning“. Massive dock proposed in Milwaukee. Follow Great Lakes ship traffic at www.marinetraffic.com. Highest moose population in 11 years. 3.2 million dollars for Grand Haven Harbor work. 95% of Michigan rivers are too polluted to swim in. Icebreakers free 10 ships from Whitefish Bay ice.