Great Lakes Water Levels

October 26th, 2012 at 3:50 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   Surfer at Grand Haven on Thursday.  See the picture full screen here (from “Beth” at ReportIt).  Earlier this week, the buoy a mile off Holland and the buoy a mile off of Ludington was retrieved for the winter.  The mid-Lake Michigan buoy is still out there in the middle of the lake and showing a water temperature of  55 degrees.    The Thursday update on Great Lakes water levels from the Army Corps of Engineers shows Lake Michigan (and Lake Huron – they’re connected and at the same level) has gone up an inch in the past week.  The lake level is still down 2″ in the last month and down 14″ in the last year.  The level is 28″ below the average level, but still 2″ higher than the low level of Oct. 1964.  The lake is 69″ (5 feet 9 inches) below the high water level of Oct. 1986.   Lake Superior is down 2″ in the past month and down 4″ in the past year.  Superior is 16″ below the century average.  Lake Erie is down 4″ in the past month and down 19″ year-t0-year.  Erie is 10″ below average and 20″ above the low level of Oct. 1934.   Lake Ontario dropped 5″ in the last month and 14″ in the past year.  Lake Ontario is 19″ above the low water of 1934.  Lake’s Erie and Ontario fluctuate more than the other 3 Great Lakes.  Lake Erie was significantly above average level this past spring.

Recent rains should help the lake levels.  In the last 23 days (up to midnight last night), Grand Rapids has picked up 5.9″ of rain.  We’ve had at least a trace of rain on 19 of the last 24 days and measurable rain on 15 of the last 24 days.  Through midnight here are some monthly rainfall totals:  6.66″ Muskegon, 7.30″ Holland, 4.60″ Kalamazoo Airport, 4.04″ Lansing, 4.75 Traverse City, 4.73″ S. Ste. Marie, 4.75″ Marquette.   Water flow on the Grand River last night when I checked was 3,450 cubic feet per second.  That compares to a median of 1,950 cubic feet per second for Oct. 26th.  I looked through the 4-page list of data from river gauges, and practically all the rivers in Michigan were above the average flow.

2 Responses to “Great Lakes Water Levels”

  1. Lisa (Caledonia) says:

    000
    FXUS63 KGRR 260801
    AFDGRR

    AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND RAPIDS MI
    358 AM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012

    .SYNOPSIS…
    ISSUED AT 358 AM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012

    IT WILL BE MUCH COOLER TODAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND INTO EARLY NEXT
    WEEK. DRY WEATHER WILL RETURN FROM LATER THIS MORNING THROUGH THE
    WEEKEND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK.

    &&

    .SHORT TERM…(TODAY THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON)
    ISSUED AT 358 AM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012

    SHORT TERM FCST CONCERNS ARE FAIRLY MINIMAL. SHOWERS WILL LINGER
    OVER OUR ESE FCST AREA (MAINLY NEAR TO EAST OF A LINE FROM KAZO TO
    KMOP) THROUGH THE EARLY MORNING HOURS BEFORE EXITING OUR AREA. IT
    WILL BE MUCH COOLER TODAY WITH PARTLY SUNNY SKIES AND NW FLOW CAA.
    MAX TEMPS WILL ONLY REACH THE UPPER 40S TO LOWER 50S.

    DRY WX IS ANTICIPATED ACROSS OUR AREA THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH SUNDAY
    BUT IT WILL REMAIN COOL THROUGH THE WEEKEND WITH MAX TEMPS ONLY IN
    THE 45 TO 50 DEGREE RANGE AND LOW TEMPS MAINLY IN THE UPPER 20S TO
    LOWER 30S.

    .LONG TERM…(SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY)
    ISSUED AT 358 AM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012

    FOCUS OF THE LONG TERM IS SQUARELY ON THE INTERACTION OF THE GREAT
    LAKES UPPER TROUGH AND HURRICANE SANDY. LONG TERM BEGINS SUNDAY
    NIGHT WITH THE UPPER TROUGH OVERHEAD AND SANDY MOVING NORTHWARD OFF
    THE NORTH CAROLINA COAST. STILL A WIDE RANGE OF SOLUTIONS IN PLAY AS
    THE ECMWF HAS THE LOW CENTERED IN NORTHEAST OHIO AT 12Z WED…WHILE
    THE GFS HAS THE LOW OVER THE ATLANTIC OFF OF LONG ISLAND NY. SUFFICE
    IT TO SAY THAT CONFIDENCE IS NOT HIGH REGARDING THE FORECAST NEXT
    WEEK. LEANING TOWARD THE FURTHER WEST/STRONGER ECMWF THOUGH. HAVE A
    MIXTURE OF RAIN AND SNOW IN THE FORECAST FROM TUESDAY THROUGH
    THURSDAY AS THE WESTERN PERIPHERY AFFECTS THE GREAT LAKES.

    MODEL DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FROM HPC (PMDHMD/FXUS10) HAS A GOOD
    SYNOPSIS OF SANDY. INTERESTING NOTE…THAT GUIDANCE HAS SHOWN A
    TENDENCY TO OVER DEEPEN TROPICAL CYCLONES AS THEY GAIN LATITUDE
    AND/OR UNDERGO EXTRATROPICAL TRANSITION OVER THE PAST COUPLE YEARS.
    ECMWF CURRENTLY HAS A 928MB LOW OFF THE MID ATLANTIC COAST MONDAY
    MORNING…WHICH BASED ON MODEL BIASES IS LIKELY TOO LOW.

    BOTTOM LINE IS WE HAVE QUITE A BIT OF TIME BEFORE WE HAVE TO WORRY
    ABOUT THIS SYSTEM AFFECTING THE GREAT LAKES WITH SOME PRECIPITATION.
    WILL BE WATCHING TRENDS THE NEXT 2-3 DAYS. THE EXTENDED PERIOD LOOKS
    TO BE COOLER THAN NORMAL AS WE WILL BE LOCATED IN NORTHERLY FLOW ON
    THE BACK OF THE EASTERN U.S. SYSTEM.

  2. GunLakeDeb says:

    Re water levels: we are FINALLY going to kayak the Upper White River this Sunday – we’ve not been able to kayak this stretch all summer, due to low water levels. And water is once again flowing over the Gun Lake Dam, meaning that the upper Gun River *exists* again!

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