Lake Michigan Water Level Down 18″ in the Past Year!

Bill's Blog

The Muskegon GLERL Camera caught the Lake Express Ferry coming back down the channel from Milwaukee Friday AM. Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers reported that the water level of Lake Michigan is 18″ lower than 1 year ago – a loss of 7 TRILLION gallons!

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Michigan/Huron from the Indiana DNR

This is a nice graph from the Indiana DNR showing the change of water level of Lake Michigan/Huron over the last 25 years. The low point was Jan. 2013 and the highest level was last summer (2020). Some specifics:

The water level of Lake Superior is down 1″ in the last month and down 6″ in the last year. It’s still 5″ above the average May level, but has dropped 11″ since 2019.

The level of Lakes Michigan/Huron is unchanged in the last month, but down a whopping 18″ in the last year. The level is 18″ above the average May level.

The level of Lake Erie is up 2″ in the last month, but down 17″ year-to-year. The lake is 14″ above the average May level.

The level of Lake Ontario is up 3″ in the last month, but down 24″ in the last year. The lake is 12″ BELOW the average May level and 42″ below the high level of 2017.

The level of Lake St. Clair is up 1″ in the last month, but down 18″ in the last year.

International Border Crossing Sat. AM 5 22 21

The pic. above is the border crossing from the U.S. into Canada Sat. AM 5 22 21. Note the lack of traffic as the border is still mostly closed.

The St. Marys River at S. Ste. Marie has finally (after years) fallen back below average flow. The flow Sat. AM was 74,100 cubic feet per second – average flow is 74,500 cfs.

The other rivers that connect the Great Lakes have above average flow, but by not nearly as much as a year ago. The Detroit River at Detroit has a flow of 218,000 cfs, compared to an average of 194,000 cfs.

Other Great Lakes Rivers are almost all showing below to much below average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids had a flow Sat. AM of 1,940 cfs, compared to an average flow of 4,060 cfs. That’s less than half of average flow. The Muskegon River at Croton had a flow of just 920 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,600 cfs (still plenty of water for the kayakers and tubers). The Kalamazoo River had a flow of 559 cfs at Comstock, compared to an average flow of 1,019 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles had a flow of 2,280 cfs, compared to an average flow of 4,089 cfs.

On the east side of the Lower Peninsula, the Saginaw River at Saginaw had a flow of 2,280 cfs, compared to an average flow of 4,089 cfs. Across Lake Michigan, the Fox River at Appleton WI had a flow of 3,220 cfs, compared to an average flow of 5,580 cfs.

So, the lower than average river levels will continue to cause the water level of the Great Lakes to generally go down during the late spring/early summer.

Michigan Drought Monitor

Here’s the latest Michigan Drought Monitor Map – with the Severe Drought in Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, W. Ionia and NW Barry Counties.

ALSO: Sub-tropical storm Ana has formed near Bermuda. It’s unlikely to become a hurricane. We are anticipating an above average number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic this year. It’s the wettest May ever in Victoria TX with over 16″ so far.

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