Great Lakes Water Levels

Bill's Blog

The top pic. is sunset at Grand Haven from Steve Damstra. You can see his excellent pics. here. You can read a nice article on Steve here. Now a look at radar (dry weather expected through Wed. AM).

Radar

The Great Lakes are as warm as they have been in recent years for mid-October. The water temp. at the S. Haven buoy early Sun. AM was 66°. At Port Sheldon it was 65°. Farther north, the Ludington buoy was also reading 65°. The south mid-Lake Michigan buoy had 64.9° and the north mid-Lake Michigan buoy was reading 63.1°. On Lake Superior, the west buoy had 52° and the east buoy read 58°. It’ll be a breezy day and Small Craft Advisories are out until Monday at 8 am. Be careful walking out on the piers and breakwalls. Saturday was the coolest day of the season so far (which isn’t saying much).

The first half of October was a whopping 11 degrees warmer than average! All 15 days were warmer than average. It’s also been wet. Grand Rapids has picked up 3.46″ of rain so far this month and that’s 1.41″ above average. We had measurable rain on 11 of the first 15 days of the month. I haven’t had on either my air conditioning or my furnace this month.

Petoskey Stones – northern Lake Michigan

Last Wednesday was National Fossil Day – so a quick salute to Michigan’s state stone, the Petoskey Stone. (pic. from Dave Fenton at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore facebook page)

The water level of Lake Superior is up 1″ in the last week, but down 9″ in the last year. The lake is right at the average October level and is now 15″ below the highest October level set in 1985.

The level of Lake Michigan/Huron is down 1″ in the last month and down 13″ from one year ago. The lakes are still 18″ above the October average level, but are now 23″ below the record October level set in 1986.

The level of Lake Erie is up 1″ in the last month, but down 1″ in the last year. The lake is 23″ above the October average level, but is 11″ below the record October level of 1986.

Lake Ontario’s water level is down 1″ in the last month, up 3″ in the last year and is just 6″ above the average October level. It’s 18″ below the record high October level set in 1945..

Lake St. Clair is down 2″ in the last month an down 6″ year-to-year. It’s 22″ higher than the October average level and is 15″ below the record high October level of 1986.

International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie

This is the International Bridge between Canada and the U.S. at Sault Ste. Marie. It’s been pretty quiet at the border since COVID came on the scene in March of 2020. The St. Marys River here showed a flow of 58,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 95,000 cfs. I think that’s the lowest flow I’ve seen in at least several years. Keep in mind that a south or southeast wind can reduce the flow and a north or northwest wind can increase the flow of water down the river from Lake Superior to Lake Huron.

St. Clair River

This pic. is the St. Clair River which divides Canada and the U.S. The current flow on the river is 225,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 206,000 cfs.

Because we’ve been in a wet pattern, Michigan river flow has been well above average. However, keep in mind that this is the time of year when rivers have a significantly lower flow than in spring.

The Grand River at Grand Rapids has a flow of 5,020 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,840 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 2,230 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,360 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 1,230 cfs, compared to an average flow of 635 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles has a flow of 4,870 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2050 cfs. On the east side of the state, the Saginaw River at Saginaw has an average flow of 5,800 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,060 cfs. Across the lake the Fox River at Green Bay has a flow of 4,020 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,930 cfs.

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