The Great Lakes Region is a bit cooler than average so far this year:

Temperature Difference from Average Jan. 1 – May 28

This map is temperature anomaly (difference from average) for Jan. 1, 2022 – May 28, 2022. The blue color indicates where the temperature has been cooler than average. The yellow indicates warmer than average. Thearea from the Pacific Northwest across the northern Midwest and Great Lakes has been a bit cooler than average. Grand Rapids is about 1.6 deg. cooler than average for the year. (Top pic. is downtown Chicago from the water intake 5 28 22)

This is Great Lakes Historic Maximum Ice Extent for each winter from 1973-2021. This past winter has not been added yet, but we reached maximum ice extent on Feb. 26 at 56.11% – so it was a little above the average of 53.1% and the highest extent since 2019.

This graph shows the water levels of the Great Lakes from 1918 to 2022. The levels go up and down. There seems to me to be no permanent major shift up or down…just the usual multi-year changes that we have had since levels were first recorded. Here’s the latest water levels:

Lake Superior is up a whopping 7″ in the last month. That’s largely because the snow melted into the lake. Snowfall was above average this winter over much of the Lake Superior basin. It was cooler and cloudier than average in April. In fact there are still a couple patches of snow left on Mont Ripley near Houghton – on May 29th!

Lake Superior is down 1″ year-to-year and is now 6″ above the May average level. It’s 10″ below the highest May level reached in 2019.

Lake Michigan/Huron (one big lake for lake level purposes – if you count Lakes Michigan and Huron as one lake – it’s the biggest lake in the world) is up 2″ in the last month, mostly due to above average rainfall and below average evaporation. The lakes are 7″ below the level of one year ago. However, the lakes are still 11″ above the May average level. The lakes are 24″ lower than May 2020 – so there is more beach to enjoy this summer, and more of a buffer so that large waves can’t cause as much erosion of lakeshore dunes.

Lake Erie is up 4″ in the last month, but is at the same level as one year ago. Erie is still 15″ above the May average, but 15″ below the highest May level – reached in 2020.

Lake Ontario is down 2″ in the last month, but up 17″ in the last year. The lake is 5″ higher than the average May level, but 26″ below the highest May level of 2017.

Lake St. Clair is up 4″ in the last month, but down 3″ year-to-year. The lake is 15″ above the May average level, but 17″ below the highest May level of 2020.

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Area rivers show mostly above average flow, due to recent rains. Grand Rapids set a daily record rainfall on Thursday the 26th with 1.32″. Grand Rapids had measurable rain on 7 out of 10 days from the 18th thru the 27th and during those 10 days, we had only 22% of possible sunshine. Grand Rapids has had only 10 days out of 28 this month with more than 50% sunshine. The average wind speed on Saturday was only 3.9 mph in Grand Rapids.

The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a flow of 5,170 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 3,620 cfs (or 143% of average flow). The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 1,440 cfs, compared to an average flow of 905 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles has a flow of 4,550 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,780 cfs. The Saginaw River at Saginaw has a flow of 4,400 cfs – average is 3,570 cfs.

The one river a bit below average is the Muskegon River at Croton – with a flow of 2,080 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,370 cfs. Across the lake – the Fox River at Appleton WI has a flow of 6,800 cfs – average is 4,880 cfs.

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There is a Beach Hazards Statement and Small Craft Advisory for Muskegon, Oceana and Mason Counties until 6 pm Tuesday for 2-5 foot waves. Winds will be south, so dangerous currents could set up on the south side of piers and breakwaters.