Record Great Lakes High Water Levels

Bill's Blog
Erie Lake High Water 1986_1558113084888.jpg.jpg

OKThe top pic. is high water on Lake Erie in 1986.  The big news this week is that there are now three lakes with record high water levels for the month of May. 

Lake Superior is now an inch higher than it has ever been in May.  Superior’s level has gone up 7 inches in just the last month due to snowmelt and above average precipitation.  The 7″ rise represents an increase of 3.85 TRILLION gallons of additional water in the lake.  Since January 1, Marquette is 5.59″ above average precipitation.  Sault Ste. Marie is 6.72″ above average and that is the main reason that the level of Lake Superior has shot up so fast.    There was also well above average ice cover on Lake Superior (and the other Great Lakes) this past winter (and four of the last six winters).  That causes less evaporation.  

Lake Erie is up 10″ in the last month, up 6″ year-to-year and is now 30″ above the average water level.  Erie is now 4 inches higher than it has ever been in the month of May.  Same story on Lake St. Clair.  That lake is up 9″ in the last month, 6″ higher than one year ago, 30″ above the May average and 2″ higher than the previous May record.

Lake Michigan/Huron is up 8″ in the last month, up 9″ in the last year and is now 27″ above the May average level.  The level is now only 4″ below the record May level set in 1986.  The lake is expected to go up another 3″ in the next month.

Lake Ontario is up a whopping 23″ in just the last month!  It’s up 17″ in the last year and is now also 27″ above the May average.  The level is just 4″ below the May record level set two years ago in 2017.  A State of Emergency has been declared

Rivers that connect the Great Lakes continue to have well above average flow.  The St. Clair River at Port Huron has a flow of 250,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 187,000 cfs.  The Detroit River at Detroit has a flow of 251,000 cfs compared to an average flow of 199,000 cfs.

Here’s the flow on inland rivers:  The Grand River at Grand Rapids has a flow right now (2 pm Fri.) of 6,610 cfs – average flow for May 17 is 4,580.  The Muskegon River has a flow of 3,220 cfs – average is 2,890 cfs.  The Kalamazoo River has a flow of 1,450 cfs – average flow is 1,019 cfs.  The St. Joseph River at Niles has a flow of 7,290 cfs – average flow is 4,120 cfs.

Message in a bottle thrown into Lake Michigan is found 21 years later. 

Also:  Lake Superior factsAfter 182 days (half a year) there is no ice on Lake Superior.  Maximum ice cover on the Great Lakes this year was 81%, compared to an average maximum ice of 55%. Great Lakes Levels in Constant Flux.  Here’s historic Great Lakes water levels.  There is (IMHO) no indication that the levels have been drastically moved by so called “global warming”.  High water levels affecting the Coast GuardHigh-tech buoys on the Great LakesHigh water on the St. Lawrence River.  Searching for Great Lakes shipwrecksGreat Lakes steel output shows significant gainThey needed 40 scientists to state the historical obviousDogs are helpingCruising the Great LakesThe “Holy Grail” of shipwrecksHistoric new Great Lakes shipMystery foamWorst case scenarioClosing nuclear plants will spike pollutionThis is nonsense…We have NOT seen an increase in the frequency and intensity of severe storms.  Invasive species $$Ancient secretsKayak expressFlying under the Mackinac BridgeYemini sailors on the Great LakesBiggest birding festivalBurns Harbor port expanding (good economy).  Is it legal to walk Great Lakes beaches

I remember this day well.  Line of thunderstorms with strong wind pushes the water toward the Michigan shore.  As the storm passes, the winds die down and sometimes even reverse direction to come out of the east or southeast.  The water sloshes back away from shore “pulling” swimmers out away from shore.  This is called a seiche.  If you get a thunderstorm with strong winds, best not to go right back into the lake.  The fact that it was July 4 and a warm day meant there were many more people at the Michigan beaches, including visitors who might be swimming in the lake for the first time. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Weather Tools