Great Lakes Water Levels

February 22nd, 2013 at 9:54 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  You’re looking at the buildings in Chicago from Grand Mere St. Park across Lake Michigan just after sunset.  Picture from Joshua at ReportIt.  You really have to see the picture full screen.  Precipitation has been above average of late and that’s bumped up the water level of Lake Michigan/Huron 2″ in the last month.  The lake is still down 13″ from one year ago.  The level is 26″ below the century average for February, but one inch above the lowest February level, which was back in 1964.  Lake Superior’s level was unchanged in the last month and is 2″ higher than one year ago.  Lake Erie is unchanged in the past month and Lake Ontario went up 4″ in the last month, but is still 3″ below average.   Grand Rapids is 0.72″ above average for precipitation this month and 2.99″ above average since Dec. 1.  Muskegon is +5.63″ since Dec. 1 and Lansing is +1.93″.   We were also above average for precipitation last winter.   The volume of water flowing in the Grand River into Lake Michigan remains above average.   Precpitation has been above average 7 of the last 12 years in the Lake Michigan/Huron basin.  Here’s more from meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.  I’ve linked to this article before, but if you’re interested in lake levels, you ought to give it a read.   Lack of snowfall last winter isn’t the reason Lake Michigan and Lake Huron had such a sharp drop in water level.  Total precipitation was slightly above average last winter over much of the Lake Michigan basin – it came more as rain than snow.

16 Responses to “Great Lakes Water Levels”

  1. Scott (west olive) says:

    Need to get that water up, starting to wonder what I’ll hit in the channel this summer.

    1. Jack says:

      I take back my FIRST. Scott snuck in there First, while I was Typing…. LOL… Stay Cued ! ;-)

  2. Jack says:

    First on a Friday !!!!! Again..Lol. Beautiful Pic !!! Thanks Joshua ! Glad 2 See Water Leveles Going Up as Well.

  3. Mark says:

    I don’t know what screen you’re viewing that picture on, but here it only fills my screen about half way. “Full size” would be more accurate for this particular picture.

  4. Tyler (Escanaba) says:

    A buddy of mine who is a pilot says he can see Chicago flying into Milwaukee on a clear day. I hear you can see it from Benton Harbor on a clear day and Northern Indiana.

    1. Larry from Hastings/Barry Co says:

      I was down to Benton Harbor years ago, on a clear day, I did see Chicago.

      1. GunLakeDeb says:

        I’m wondering, you guys – were you really *seeing* Chicago – or a reflection of it due to some sort of atmospheric “stuff” I’ve heard can happen so that people in Grand Haven can “see” Milwaukee? I was always under the impression that once you were about 5 miles offshore, you can’t see the shoreline due to the curvature of the earth?? DF – help me out here?!

        1. GunLakeDeb says:

          Maybe I answered my own question – Grand Mere State Park is about 75′ above the lake at its higher points – so the picture probably IS a true image and not reflected?

  5. Larry from Hastings/Barry Co says:

    Sounds like next weeks snow storm will bring us a good amount of snow. I hope by the middle of March the weather starts to warm up.

  6. Tom in Alger Heights says:

    Prepping for Winter Beer Fest 2013 at 5/3 Ballpark. Current observation: light snow, basically no wind, temp 28. My buddy and I are hitting the Real Food Cafe (big shoutout) for breakfast then heading to the ballpark around 10. General admission doesn’t start until 1pm (gotta get a good spot in line) but hoping to get lucky and get in early. Will try to provide wx observations throughout the afternoon.

    1. Jack says:

      Beer 4 Breakfast ??? Aye TOM ?.. Lol. ENJOY ! So much for the wx observations … Tee Hee…. ;-)

  7. Steve says:

    So the lake is down so far that now we can see the Chicago skyline?

  8. Kate J says:

    Bill, I am wondering if the water levels have anything to do with the bottled water companies pumping fresh water from our underground aquifer….an unsubstantiated thought I know,…but I think it’s a viable one – the water being pumped out has to be replaced with something – wouldn’t it make sense for it to be replaced with the water above ground; thereby depleting the water levels? I remember as a kid digging in the sand far from the water and as much water and sand as I dug out….it immediately filled in with more water – what are your thoughts? Just curious. Thanks.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      I think that’s very minimal. I think we need to look at the possibility of the dredging of the St. Clair River as a significant contributor to the substantial recent drop in the water level.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Does Barry Co. even exist? You just talked about the “smile” on the radar of the snowfall that went from Ionia Co. to Allegan Co. , but never mentioned NW Barry Co. I know that we do not have a dedicated weather station, but we DO exist!!!! We have a lot of the icy, slick country roads too. We feel left out.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Sorry! Didn’t mean to ignore you. I love Barry Co. My daughter went to camp there and I come down in the summer to kayak and swim at Gun Lake.

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