Great Lakes Water LevelsDecember 22nd, 2012 at 2:50 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Pretty cool picture here from Drake Olmstead who was at Lake Michigan Friday AM. The wind was gusting to 60 mph at the time. Lake Michigan has now reached the lowest level ever reached in the month of December in the last 50+ years. The lake is now one inch lower than the previous record December low set in 1964. The lake is down 3″ in the last month and down 17″ in the last year. I remain a little perplexed by the size of the drop. Grand Rapids has had 33.48″ of precipitation this year, or 89% of average. Last year we had 45.09″ of precipitation or 118% of average. If you add the two years, you get 103.5% of average over the 2-year period. I didn’t look at other cities, but I don’t think you’d find significantly lower precipitation amounts. The level of Lake Michigan – Huron is dependent on what comes down from Lake Superior…but while Lake Michigan is down 17″ year-to-year, Lake Superior is at the same level as last year. Lake Michigan is 17″ below chart datum. Lake Erie is 12″ above chart datum and Lake Ontario is 5 inches above chart datum. BTW, the latest level reading was from early Thurs. and did not take into account the significant rain we had (2.16″ in Milwaukee, 2.30″ in Hart). it’s estimated that average precipitation over Lake Michigan was close to an inch.