Seiche on Lake Erie

Bill's Blog

The strong west wind we had Monday created a standing seiche (pronounced “sash” with a long “a”) on Lake Erie. The wind pushes the surface water from west to east across the lake and the water piles up at the east end of the lake. Compare the graphs below:

Water Level Graph of Lake Erie at Toledo
Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie at Buffalo

The top graph is the water level of Lake Erie at Toledo OH. The bottom graph is the water level of Lake Erie at Buffalo NY. Note that as the wind increases, the water level falls at Toledo and rises at Buffalo. The level(7.65 at Buffalo and -0.11 at Toledo) of Lake Erie Monday PM was 7.76 feet higher in Buffalo than at Toledo – a big difference. The strong winds would have produced a similar effect on the other Great Lakes, but the shape of Lake Erie means the effect was amplified there.

We can be glad that the water level of the Great Lakes has decreased. The water level of Lake Erie is a foot below the record December level set in 1986. The water level fall on Lake Michigan has been more dramatic, down 18″ in the last year. The level is 21″ below the highest December level, also set in 1986.AL

ALSO: The mid-Lake Michigan buoy, 40 miles west of Holland MI is still out there. It reported a peak wave height Monday of 10.8 feet and a peak wind gust of 49 mph. 90 mph gusts possible in NW Europe. Historic cold spell in Scandinavia:With -43.8C Naimakka broke its Dec record of lowest temperature (all time low -48.9C in 1999).This is also the lowest temperature ever recorded in Sweden so early in the season since 1945 and it’s the lowest temperature in December since 1986.

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