Lake Levels

June 8th, 2012 at 1:24 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  This is the mid-Lake Michigan buoy that sits about halfway between Milwaukee and Holland.  As I write this at 1 AM, the lake is flat calm.  The water temperature is 58 at the buoy.  The sun has warmed the surface water and that will likely go down a few degrees when the wind comes up and stirs up colder water from below the surface.   I don’t know if the weather data is archived, but it would be a rare event to get an 80-degree day in early June.  I’ve seen days when it’s 90 at the airports in Holland and Milwaukee, but only in the mid 60s at mid-lake.

We’ve had an overall drier pattern in the Great Lakes and that’s caused water levels to drop a bit.  Lake Michigan-Huron is at the same level as one month ago, but is now 5″ below the level of one year ago.  It’s 19″ below average level for June, but 12″ above the low level of June 1964.  Lake Superior is up 4″ in the last month and is one inch higher than June 2011.  Superior is 11″ below average level.  The eastern lakes have a much more variable water level, are down a lot year-to-year.   Lake Erie, which was well above normal a few months ago is now 14″ below the level of one year ago and Ontario is down 19″ year-to-year.   Erie is only 3″ below the century average and Ontario is 6″ below the century average.     The Grand River at Eastmanville is running at 60% of mean flow right now.

4 Responses to “Lake Levels”

  1. DF (SE Mich) says:

    When we do the across the lake night race in late June we often wear our winter hats and gloves. It is still cold out there.

    1. Bruiseviolet (formerly Rockford- now Cedar Springs) says:

      Really? Wow, I knew it was chiller- just didn’t realize that cold. =)

  2. Bruiseviolet (formerly Rockford- now Cedar Springs) says:

    This may seem like a completely silly question- but since all the Great Lakes are connected- why is there such a difference in the water levels? (I know there has to be a logical answer for this).

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      They’re not all connected. Only Michigan and Huron are connected (at the Mackinac Bridge) and at the same water level. The water from Lake Superior flows down the St. Mary’s River into Lake Huron. It falls 23 feet while it does that. The water from Lake Huron flows down the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers to Lake Erie and drops about 6 feet. There is a big drop from Lake Erie to Ontario as the water has to go over Niagara Falls. The water level of Lake Ontario is 331 feet lower than Lake Erie.

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