NWS: Extreme erosion possible on rising Lake Superior

Rising Waters

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WOOD/WJMN) — Lake Michigan isn’t the only Great Lake plagued by problems caused by rising water levels.

The harsh winter brought more than 200 inches of snow to some areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Combined with above-average precipitation for the past seven years, it’s no surprise Lake Superior is rising quickly.

“Just back in 2012, we were talking about record low waters on Lake Superior. The turnaround is the fastest we’ve seen in the history of the Great Lakes system. There’s probably 50 trillion more gallons of water than in 2012,” said Matt Zika, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Marquette.

Lake Superior
A June 2019 image of Lake Superior. (WJMN)

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While Lakes Superior and Michigan are breaking records, Lake Superior is expected to continue to swell, with water levels typically peaking in fall.

“Which then causes concern from a weather perspective, because our biggest storms happen in the fall. The highest winds and waves (happen then), thus that’s when our erosion issues are the most extreme,” explained Zika.

Lake Superior
A buoy floats on an elevated Lake Superior in June 2019. (WJMN)

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Right now, Lake Superior is about 10 inches above normal. The NWS expects by this summer, Lake Superior will break the all-time record.

“It looks like in the July to August time period, we may reach that level. So, we’ll be able to say Lake Superior is the highest we’ve ever been since we’ve had records to record it,” Zika said.

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