Lake and River Levels

July 27th, 2012 at 9:55 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

    Boat that sunk in Spring Lake on 7/22 – see full screen here – from Keith on ReportIt.  I don’t have details on the sunken craft.   The water level of Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month and is now 2″ above the level of one year ago (they’ve had more rain up north – where the “ring of fire” has been located).  The rest of the Great Lakes are down…Michigan/Huron is down 2″ in the last month and 9″ in the last year.  The lake is now 22″ below the average July level.   Lake Erie is down 3″ in the last month and down 14″ year-to-year and Lake Ontario is down 6″ in the last month and down 12″ in the past year.  Ontario is 10″ below average and Erie is 8″ below average.  Erie and Ontario go through larger fluctuations over shorter periods of time than the other 3 Great Lakes.  The rain today in Kent Co. caused significant rises in river levels.  Look at the chart for the Rogue River at Rockford.  The Rogue was well below average flow and shot up to well above average flow…but look at how fast it’s coming down already.  Here’s the Grand River in Grand Rapids, also showing a significant rise with the rain today.  You can see how quickly even a bigger river can rise with a quick heavy rain event.

30 Responses to “Lake and River Levels”

  1. Bruiseviolet says:

    My grandparents live on the Rogue River- and along the shoreline of their property the tree that sits on the bank- the roots were completely exposed this year on half of the tree (normally they are completely submerged in the river). We’ve never seen the river so low!

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Looks like the Rogue bottomed out at 83 cfs at Rockford this month. The lowest level for today (7/27) was 58 cfs in 1958. So, it’s been lower.

  2. Brad says:

    When was the last time Lakes Huron and Michigan had higher than average water levels?

    1. Mike M. says:

      Stay tuned, Brad. This could be good or maybe you get a belly laugh instead.

      1. Brad says:

        I’m not sure who Anthony Watts is?

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          He manages the website: which has the most comprehensive polar ice page: His site has had over 121 million page views since he started it and it’s been voted the best science weblog several years running now.

        2. Brad says:

          He runs a blog, I get that, but is he a scientist?

        3. Bill Steffen says:

          How do you define “scientist”?

        4. Brad says:

          I’m just curious what his credentials are, as in why would I choose to read his blog?

        5. Bill Steffen says:

          Meteorologist – AMS Seal – Purdue – One peer reviewed paper with several State Climatologists. He has worked on station siting. I know he’s also done work on electric cars. When the American Assn. of State Climatologists met here in G.R., two climatologists that I had dinner with told me that a couple times at the conference they lauded his work on pointing out weather stations that are in bad locations:

        6. Brad says:

          Is the AMS confirmed? Did Watts graduate? I know plenty of kids who were “pre-med” in college but I would certainly not call them doctors.

        7. Bill Steffen says:

          Here’s his bio from his website: He did earn the AMS Seal of Approval. Since he is off TV, he is “inactive” or “retired”. You do have to pass an extensive written test and have your tapes reviewed by an AMS committee panel to get the Seal. He mostly runs his website (which can be quite a chore at times, as I can attest to). The information and articles are very popular (note the 121 million-plus page views since its inception). The vast majority of the content of the website is not Anthony’s writings, but articles/information submitted to him…kind of like Drudge (which is also widely popular):

        8. Mike M. says:

          121,000,000 page views is all you need to know. He’s the second most influential skeptical blogger out there, next to Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit. The announcement undoubtedly has to do with the “Fall et al” paper he and several others have been working on.

          More news will be coming out of the BEST Project this week so I think there will be a connection to the Fall paper, possibly confirming a fatal bias in the USHCN network. UHI? Dunno. Whole thing could be nothing. Take a good look at the pitiful number of stations meeting proper siting criteria in there, Brad. Our system sucks and we have the best in the world, by far.

        9. Brad says:

          Healthy skepticism is one thing…an agenda is another. Argumentum ad populum cannot subsitute for Mr. Watts’ scientific credentials or lack thereof. Science is not conducted via blogs. More Americans probably listen to Jenny McCarthy about vaccinations than read refereed journal articles about the same topic, but that doesn’t make Jenny an expert.

        10. Mike M. says:

          Strawman. Watt’s stats establish presence, not scientific authority. If he’s participating in a peer-reviewed paper that is going to print in an established scientific journal than he will have his say. I’m well aware of your side’s desire to strictly identify and limit official “authority.” It’s 2012. That technique stopped working years ago after the internet pulled back the curtains on the powers that be.

        11. big Daddy BC says:

          And the skeptics fall back on the old science-doesn’t-work-anymore argument. LOL So Watts doesn’t have to do science to be a scientist, because the crooked system would eject him. He’s a the ultimate rebel a scientist who rejects science, but blogs about it anyway. Wow.

        12. Bill Steffen says:

          You’ve presented no scientific credentials…not even a GE.D!

          Here’s what science says:

          1) Global temperature has been flat for over 10 years: Even James Hansen admits it: “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade…” – James Hansen et al.

          2) CO2 emissions in the U.S. are falling and are now at at 20-year low:

          “The global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.” – Dr. Harold Lewis, Professor of Physics, Univ. of California

    2. Bill Steffen says:

      Looks like 1999: The lowest recorded July level was in 1964, when it was 10″ lower than it is now. The highest level was in 1986, when we were 54″ higher than the current level. As of 1967, the city of Chicago is allowed to remove 3200 cubic feet per second of water from Lake Michigan. Roughly half of this goes down the Chicago River and half is used for resident use. With the cold PDO, it’s unlikely that we’ll see significant rises on Lake Michigan in the next couple years.

  3. Derek says:

    The ladder on the transom of the boat broke off under the water level, leaving a hole in the transom which allowed water to enter the boat. Oops!

  4. Nathan says:

    (My friends cusin is the Olympic gymnastic leader btw!! I’m friends with her!!) anyways, things are greening up Bill! I think the drought is over for west Michigan FINALLY! But the heat isn’t going anywhere… :(

  5. Nathan says:

    Hey Bill, I just got your email. ( your fast!) are you still doing the news?

  6. Nathan says:

    Ok, I have to go to bed now… But I just wanted to let you know that your my favorite person EVER besides my family!! I watch you every night and chat on your blog. Your just so awesome!! Talk later!

  7. Nathan says:

    (I cant sleep because I got a cat allergy) I don’t know what to do… No one is on the blog right now…. It’s terrible! I guess I’ll wait for someone if anyone wants to talk? :(

  8. Nathan says:

    (I cant sleep because I got a cat allergy) I don’t know what to do… No one is on the blog right now…. It’s terrible! I guess I’ll wait for someone if anyone wants to talk?

    1. Jack says:

      Yo what up Nathan..

  9. Vicki says:

    Did any one see this or hear about it on Lake Michigan yesterday? I hope I can post it right.

    1. Cort S. says:

      Yes, definitely a sight I wish I could have seen. The NWS posted a story on them:

      1. Vicki (Holland) says:

        Thanks Cort for posting this. I enjoyed reading it!

  10. Yup (Grandville) says:

    OMG… that’s a Chris Craft Constellation…. gorgeous boats. Probably wood hulled… how sad.

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