Great Lakes Water Levels, Ice Extent and News

Bill's Blog
S. Haven Skycam 4 19 19 big waves in sun_1555729795120.png.jpg

The top picture is at South Haven, Michigan Friday Evening.  A brisk north wind kicked up waves up to 6 feet that crashed over the breakwater.  I saw surfers, a kayak, a paddleboard and a couple of kite surfers on the south side of the channel.

This was South Haven Friday evening – waves up to 6 feet were crashing over the breakwater.  Great Lakes water levels are high and should remain high through the summer.  The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron (one big lake for lake level purposes) is now 23″ higher than the April average level.  It’s up 4″ in the last month and up 7″ in the last year.  Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month (fortunately, they are melting the deep snowpack without heavy rain) and up 6″ year-to-year.  Superior is 14″ above the April average and only 2″ below the record highest level for April set in 1986.  Lake Erie is up 6″ in the last month, unchanged in the last year, but remains a full 2 feet higher than the April average.  Lake Ontario also went up 6″ in the last month.  Ontario is 2″ higher than one year ago and 9″ higher than average for April.  Lake St. Clair is also up 4″ in the last month, down 1″ from one year ago and is now 25″ above the April average. 

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have above average flow and that should continue through most or all of 2019.  The St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie has a flow of 90,300 cubic feet per second.  The St. Clair River has a flow of 256,000 cfs and the Detroit River has a flow of 275,000 cfs – all well above average flow.

This is Tahquamenon Falls April 15 – snow has been melting at a pretty quick pace across the U.P. and rivers are high.  Precipitation has been above average this month over much of the U.P. and rivers are high.  As I write this, the Tahquamenon River at Paradise has a flow of 4,960 cfs compared to an average flow of 2,960 for today.  The Ontonagon River at Rockland has a flow of 9,990 cfs compared to an average April flow of 3,300 cfs.  Marquette has had 3.37″ of precipitation this month – 1.37″ above average and S. Ste. Marie has picked up 3.25″ of precipitation and that’s 1.68″ above average.

This is the Grand River in Grand Rapids.  This time of year, fishermen are looking to catch steelhead.  The river level in G.R. at this time (Sat. 4/20 PM) has a flow of 9,560 cfs (average for 4/20 is 5,620 cfs).  The Muskegon River at Croton shows a flow of 5,540 cfs (average = 2,940 cfs) and the Kalamazoo River at New Richmond has a flow of 3,640 cfs (average is 2,740 cfs).

Great Lakes ice extent is down to 6.5%.  The first ice on Lake Superior was Nov. 14, so we’ve gone 5 months and a week with some ice on the lakes.  There’s just a smidgen of ice left in Lake Michigan.  Ice is gone from Lake Ontario and Lake St. Clair and will be gone from Lake Erie in a couple-three days. 

Great Lakes News:  Great Lakes buoys are going to be deployed soon.  Check buoy data hereStrait of Mackinac a bird superhighway.  Why is Isle Royale part of Michigan instead of MinnesotaProtection from Asian carp.  Improving water quality.  Cruisin’ the Great LakesDay trips planned to Lake Michigan’s most remote lighthouseFishing Lake ErieThe giant ice boom on Lake ErieWolves on Isle RoyaleAdopt-a-beach.  $225,000 availableTrout limit on Traverse Bay cut in halfShooting the wavesSplit Rock Lighthouse keeper retires after 36 yearsMarine sanctuary moving forwardThe engineering marvel that unlocked a continentWill wolves move into Lower MichiganDune photos sought for research projectCreepy parasitesThousands of dead fish Film on Great Lakes birdsGolfball pollutionLabor shortage in the Great Lakes in strong economyA story about moose poopOpening up mines in Upper MichiganFamous freighter returns to the Great LakesTall ship updateLake Michigan property to become nature preserveStrong shipping season forecastRemoving the Boardman DamGrand River concernsDogs chasing gulls

This story is plain and simply not true. 

Look at the graph of Great Lakes ice cover.  It’s steady – not declining!  They’re very clever at manipulating the data.  Note they say “40 years ago”.  40 years ago was 1979 – the year with the highest ice extent on the Great Lakes.  What if they started with 1983?  They could say that Great Lakes ice was increasing rapidly.  Great Lakes ice extent peaked at 80.87% this year in early March.  That’s well above average ice extent in 4 of the last 6 years.  Why did they use 40 years – I’ll guess it’s to fit the narrative.  Here’s the graph – the complete record – show the graph and let people make up their own mind. 

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