Great Lakes Water Levels

May 9th, 2013 at 11:10 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

lake michigan sunset close up jack martin    Close-up of sunset at Pier Cove a couple days ago, from Jack Martin.  Let me start by saying the water level of the Great Lakes usually goes up in April and often it goes up the more in April than any other month.  However, the heavy rain that fell during the month has really boosted water levels.  Lake Michigan (and Lake Huron)  added another 2″ in the past week and is now up 9″ in the last month.   The lake is still 6″ below the level of one year ago and 22″ below the long-term May average.  However, it’s now 7″ above the lowest May level that was reached in 1964.   Lake Superior has benefited from a fairly rapid snow melt and is up 3″ in the last week and 6″ in the last month.  Superior is now at the same level that it was at one year ago, but is still a foot below the century average for May.  Lake Erie is up 6″ in the last month, but 7″ below the century average.  Lake Ontario is up 8″ in the last month and is 6″ below the century average.    The lakes are expected to go up another 1-4″ in the next month.

Great Lakes News:  Asian carp found in Grand River (that’s the Ohio Grand River).  Sand mining in Norton Shores to end by 2016Nine-million dollar DNR program to stock 19 million fish into the Great Lakes.  The Illinois DNR wants tighter rules on drawing water out of Lake MichiganGVSU buoy is now in place off Muskegon.

87 Responses to “Great Lakes Water Levels”

  1. Jack says:

    Another AWESOME PICTURE !!!!!! Thank- You JACK ! Also good News Water Levels Going UP!!!!!! Stay Cued… ;-)

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      The entire U.S. has had only 29 reported tornadoes in the last 19 days. That’s incredible. May is the peak of tornado season!

  2. Brad says:

    The heat will take care of this temporary increase in water levels. It’s evaporation, bay-bee!

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Too vague. Make a prediction. On January 1, 2014, how much above or below will the lake level be compared to January 1, 2013. Pick a number…and no fair using part of that big fat government pension you get to do more dredging in the St. Clair River.

      1. GB says:

        Kind of a jerk comment don’t you think?

      2. big Daddy BC says:

        Don’t bet him, Brad. He doesn’t honor his bets.

        1. big Daddy BC says:

          At least you admit we made a bet, although we didn’t bet about snow. We bet about temperatures. You refused to make a claim about precip. So not only do you refuse to pay your bets after losing two years in a row, but you lie about it as well. LOL

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          Well, you lost the bet. And you’re certainly losing the climate alarmism argument. Global temperatures:

          Even James Hansen has been forced to admit it: “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade…” – James Hansen et al.

          CO2 emissions in the U.S. are falling:

        3. big Daddy BC says:

          I won the bet both years. That’s a fact.

        4. Bill Steffen says:

          You didn’t win any bet. You certainly didn’t expect that global temperatures would be flat for over 10 years:

          “You certainly didn’t expect Hansen to admit it: The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade…” – James Hansen et al.

          You didn’t expect CO2 emissions in the U.S. to drop like this:

          And you certainly didn’t predict the Alaska glaciers to grow like this: ” Hubbard Glacier is the largest of eight calving glaciers in Alaska that are currently increasing in total mass and advancing.” (from USGS).

          And my winter prediction beat yours by a mile:

        5. big Daddy BC says:

          I beat you both years. The first year you said that a broken clock is right twice a day and claimed I had no data so my win wasn’t valid. The second year you just ignored the embarrassing loss. LOL

          Did you read that CO2 has reached its officially highest point in the past three million years?
          You guys that fight for the rights of Exxon are winning. Congrats. The commoners lose again…BIG TIME!

        6. Bill Steffen says:

          We had no bets. Look at my forecast for snowfall this year: I came within ONE INCH.

          Did you read that CO2 emissions in the U.S. are falling and are now at a 20-year low:

          This is from U.C. Berkeley: “Based on 2012 to-date, it looks like the US might actually reduce CO2 emissions below 1990 levels this year – the targets widely touted by the Kyoto Protocol. Admittedly, we are a few years late, but I think it bears recognition.”

          Exxon is the 17th biggest oil company in the world. Why don’t you ever mention the 16 oil companies that are bigger?

          Bottom line….CO2 emission in the U.S. are falling, global temperatures have been flat for at least 11 years…the number of tornadoes is at a 60 year low. The U.S. has now gone the longest time in history without a direct hit from a Category 3 or higher hurricane and the Texas drought was not caused by climate change (from the Texas State Climatologist).

  3. Nathan says:

    Nice rain here in Forest Hills

  4. bluegill says:

    It would be interesting to compare the water levels to point and time 2 years ago. I think we are just about in the same spot.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      We’re at 4″ below chart datum right now and we were 4″ below chart datum in late August 2012.

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          Lake Michigan is 10″ higher than it was in May 1964. The models are printing out moderate to heavy rainfall across Lower Michigan this weekend into next week. Lake Superior is up 3″ in just one week!

  5. Pat G Garfield Park GR says:

    ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Happy Birthday Dear Bill!! ♥ ♥ ♥Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

    1. Judy says:

      Love the graphics!!!

    2. GunLakeDeb says:

      Nicely done and Happy Birthday, Bill!!

  6. Ted says:

    Evaporation cannot drop the levels in Georgian Bay by 18″ between end of October and Mid November 2012. The Canadian Government has to re-negotiate the water treaties signed with the US and get them to stop sucking our water in the Mississippi. Their total lack of responsibility towards the environment is just not acceptable. How many people will not be able to reach their island cottages this year because of the low water. Three marina’s in southern Georgian bay cannot operate this year because of low levels. When will the government put a stop to this?

  7. DF (SE Mich) says:

    It looks more and more likely we’ll have a shot at record lows over the weekend, within a couple degrees. The temp will be good for running, but not the wind.

    1. michael g (SE GR) says:

      NWS says wind will be light tomorrow morning, hope they’re right. After 10:35 it can do whatever it wants as far as I’m concerned. :-)

  8. Dan says:

    Happy Birthday, Bill! I hope your day is a great one! Who could complain about the weather that we have had over the past couple of weeks? It has been AWESOME!
    We will look to warm right back up in a few days!
    I know this is a weather blog. However, I have to give a shout out to the Red Wings! LETS GO RED WINGS! Remember, win tonight and its on to game 7 where anything can happen! Wings need to play their best GAME tonight!!

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Yes, go east side WINGS!!! Kidding =)

    2. Jack says:

      3 w’s to DAN : “W”ings, “W”ill, ” W”IN !!!!!!!!!!! :-)

  9. DF (SE Mich) says:

    A miracle… I just heard ABC news actually report on the all time low tornado total in the last 12 months.

  10. Judy says:

    I’m a little confused…..was the Asian Carp caught recently or was it caught back in 2010? The article looked like it was from 2010. Looks like the carp will get into the Great Lakes through Ohio now. Time for the other states along the St. Lawrence seaway to get involved and demand something be done….once they get into the Great Lakes, they’ll go all the way up to Maine, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Canada. Just wait until Canada sues us for not preventing the scourge from getting into their rivers and streams and other bodies of water. I love trout fishing in the Pier Marquette….I would hate to see these things get into that river….there are already carp in the river and we don’t need this variety….especially ones that will eat everything in sight and devastate the ecosystem for the natural species.

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      I think the one shown caught is a Grass Carp – NOT the jumping killers like the Silver and BigHead carp. But they’re ALL invasive species and they WILL out-compete our native fishes. I’m dreading this, because whatever invades the Great Lakes, eventually makes its way into the inland lakes, too.

  11. Barry in Zeeland says:

    Ok, this is way cool. Click on the following link:

    and it brings you to a page where you can see the earth change over the course of 30 years using satellite pictures. You can zoom in anywhere in the world, but it also has some places highlighted like Las Vegas (massive urban sprawl) or receding glaciers that all but vanish over the past 30 years. Stunning timelapse pictures!!

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      Vegas was doubly interesting – to watch the city expand and Lake Mead to shrink……

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        “The variation in water flowing into Lake Mead and the water flowing out of Lake Mead causes the lake’s water level or “elevation” to fluctuate yearly and over multi-year periods, and it has done so throughout the reservoir’s 70 plus year history. This is normal, and it is how Lake Mead was designed to work.”

        1. big Daddy BC says:

          Lake Mead is man made, but the melting glaciers…oh wait, that’s man made too!

        2. big Daddy BC says:

          Stop the presses! a calving glacier is actually growing! It’s true, not every glacier on Earth is evaporating away, only most of them.

        3. big Daddy BC says:

          The NO TRICK ZONE and FORBES??? LOL I wonder if all these scientists are being hired by FOX NEWS as consultants. LOL

          Here’s the truth from an actual ‘scientific’ and not political institution:

        4. Bill Steffen says:

          Even the “adjusted” data on your link shows global temperatures have not warmed in at least 11 years (from your graph, you could make the case that global temperatures haven’t warmed since 1998. (

          Forbes is much more credible than your links to Mother Jones. Check out this one from the very liberal MSNBC:

    2. big Daddy BC says:

      Excellent site. Watch the rainforests of Amazonia get gobbled up by McDonald’s cattle farms. Big Mac anyone?

        1. big Daddy BC says:

          So now you’re pro deforestation?? Evil knows no bounds!

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          FACT: “In the United States, which contains 8 percent of the world’s forests, there are more trees than there were 100 years ago. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Forest growth nationally has exceeded harvest since the 1940s. By 1997, forest growth exceeded harvest by 42 percent and the volume of forest growth was 380 percent greater than it had been in 1920!”

  12. INDY says:

    Bill looks like u better up your temps next week INDY says 90′s and wind!! Stay tuned….INDYY…

    1. Jack says:

      Yup…INDY, 3 Dirty 30′s ….Equals =. 90….Lol….Stay Cued !!!! Happy FRIday !!!!

    2. Jerry hoag says:

      Hey INDY!! I’m thinking by Wednesday we will hit maybe 87 to 90 with strong thunderstorms!! You got the sprites ready??????? Wednesday should be very interesting!!! Watch for me on here in the coming days INDY!! Especially when Wednesday is much closer!!

  13. Jerry says:

    Carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere reach 400 parts per million, an amount likely not seen in three million years…

    1. mr. negative says:

      Fascinating…looking forward to studying the levels we recorded two million years ago. Can’t wait! Will they be made available online?

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        Who was that whack job? We’ve gone from 275 to 400 ppm…hardly 15 ppm. AND is it the ppm part that confuses you, because the 400 ppm is causing an increase in the 10,000 ppm of water vapor and 1 1/2 ppm methane. We’ve increased the ppm by 43%!

        To give you some perspective, Robert, .015 ppm of lead in your water is considered poison. 1 ppm of mercury in fish is dangerous. It’s all relative to the effectiveness of the solute.

        1. Robert (Plainwell) says:

          Man creates about 3.5% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

        2. big Daddy BC says:

          Does that math add up for you, Robert? We’ve raised the global ppm for CO2 by 43%. Are you saying we’re increasing it by 3.5% PER YEAR because most Deniers don’t deny the increase, only it’s effect on warming. Sure you don’t want to follow the corporate crowd??

        3. Bill Steffen says:

          CO2 isn’t lead or mercury…it’s plant food! CO2 emissions in the U.S. are falling:

          And despite the modest increase in CO2 – global temperatures and the mega-hype about forcing is NOT bringing about higher temperatures! Global temperatures have been FLAT for over 10 years:

          The Climategate emails showed you guys don’t have a clue:

          “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” (Kevin Trenberth).

          It’s a travesty because it interferes with the plan to make utility rates “skyrocket”, force the price of gasoline to $9 a gallon and make us use carcinogen-filled light bulbs.


        4. Bill Steffen says:

          400 ppm – and nothing happened! Global temperatures haven’t budged in over a decade!

          You’re global warming rants remind me of when Geraldo opened Al Capone’s vault…oh the hype! then…ah…well…Nuthin’!!!

        5. big Daddy BC says:

          Nothing happened?

          Last summer was the hottest summer on record. Last July was the hottest month of all time! This January Australia had it’s hottest month ever. The Great Lakes drying up! The last two years have been the worst drought in Texas history. Last year the Arctic ice fell well below record levels which were achieved in 2007! Hurricane Sandy! Hottest decade in history! …AND ON AND ON! Do you live in a FOX NEWS bubble?

          Here’s a great National Geo article on the extreme climate change driven weather of 12-13.

        6. Bill Steffen says:

          2012 was a warm summer in the U.S. Overall, global temperatures were almost exactly average in 2012. Global temperatures have been FLAT for 11+ years.

          The Great Lakes are NOT drying up. Lake Michigan is 10″ higher than it was in 1964. Same story for the other Great Lakes.

          The U.S. has gone the longest without a Category 3 or higher hurricane hit since at least the Civil War:

          Tornado activity is at a 60-year low:

          The Texas State Climatologist says: “There is no evidence that climate change contributed to the lack of rainfall, because rainfall has risen over the past century in the state.” (link to quote here:

          Antarctic ice extent is a a record greatest ever extent: The ice there has been increasing since the mid 1980s:

    2. michael g (SE GR) says:

      Well, that explains why the earth is the hottest it’s been in three million years….er…..wait.

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        The mind of a child. LOL Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that simple, Mikey?

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          This is simple. Global temperatures are flat…no increase in 11 years!!

          Hansen gets it: “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade…” – James Hansen et al.

          As simple as it gets! No warming in over a decade.

        2. big Daddy BC says:

          I agree. It is simple. Find a best-fit line for this graph. It’s from NASA.

        3. big Daddy BC says:

          Here’s another nice NASA graphic. It shows a comparison between the northern and southern hemispheres. Strange how that best-fit line is so similar.

        4. Bill Steffen says:

          The graph you linked to shows global temperatures have actually gone down since 1998.

          In an article which NASA published in 1999, Hansen showed that 1998 was only the fifth warmest year, after 1934, 1921, 1931 and 1953.

          James Hansen wrote this in 1999:

          “Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath…..”

          “In the U.S. there has been little temperature change in the past 50 years, the time of rapidly increasing greenhouse gases — in fact, there was a slight cooling throughout much of the country.”

        5. big Daddy BC says:

          You understand that you only link right-wing blogs and political sites don’t you?

          Read this:

        6. Bill Steffen says:

          AGAIN, the first line of the article at your link says: “Rains that are almost biblical, heat waves that don’t end, tornadoes that strike in savage swarms—there’s been a change in the weather lately. What’s going on?”

          What’s going on is that that premise is dead WRONG! Rains are not Biblical (the NOAHAN flood had it raining for 40 days and 40 nights…the fountains of the deep were broken and the highest hills were covered with water). This flood in G.R. was considerable less than the floods of 1904 and 1905. The only places on Earth getting a “heat wave that doesn’t end” are places that have been continuously hot for thousands of years…and the tornado count is at a 60-year LOW:

  14. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    Down to 44 here. Brrr. I thought Sunday was supposed to be the cold day.

  15. Jack Martin ( Fennville, Michigan) says:

    Thank You Bill! Cold and a rainy but nice to see Lake Michigan up again a little bit as well as the farmers that can use the rain!

  16. big Daddy BC says:

    Have a look at what’s happened to our lake level since about 2000, the start of the hottest decade in history.

    1. big Daddy BC says:

      While I’m at it, I might as well post this. It’s a comparison between 2012, 2013 (so far) and the long-term average lake levels. It’s dismal.

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        Lake Michigan is up 10″ in the last month! And it’s 10″ higher than it was in May 1964! Global temperatures have been flat for at least 11 years.

    2. bobcat says:

      How old must you be to know that 2000 was the start of the ‘hottest decade in history’? See why most of us can’t take you seriously? lol!

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        Maybe I’m slow on the uptake, but what the hell are you talking about. Bobcat driving bulldog princesses with flannel shirts and wads of chew between your cheek and gum don’t take me seriously because you’re hardwired not to.

        1. bobcat says:

          Yes!.. you’re VERY slow! You have absolutely NO idea what the hottest decade in history was, or ever will be. And the rest of your post again shows how desperate you are for attention. Good luck with that.

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          The hottest decade was the 1930s. Check the list of all-time record high temperatures state-by-state:

          24 states have their hottest temperatures from the 1930s! In 75 years, it hasn’t been hotter! And today we have 20 times the number of thermometers that could record a record!!

          Of the 14 hottest years in G.R., only 3 have come since 1955. We had 12 days that hit 100 degrees or more in Grand Rapids in the 1930s. We’ve had only 2 days that have hit 100 since 1964.

        3. big Daddy BC says:

          “New data from scientists at NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) now indicate that 2012 capped the hottest decade on record for global temperatures.

          Although average worldwide temperatures in 2012 did not break records, the average global temperature last year was 58.3°F (14.6°C), more than a degree warmer than the historic baseline set in the 1950s. Since 1880, the average global temperature has increased 1.4°F (0.8°C), the new data showed. Taken all together, 2012 was the ninth warmest year in modern history.

          “Every year has been above average since 1996,” Thomas Karl, director of NOAA’s Climatic Data Center, told reporters Tuesday afternoon on a conference call to announce the new findings.”

          I’m afraid your politically driven claims are OUTDATED!

        4. Bill Steffen says:

          Your link says: “…compare the average global temperature each year to the average from 1951 to 1980.” THE ONLY REASON TO USE THE YEARS 1951-1980 – the coldest 3 decades of the last 120 years – as a base average is to make the current data look warmer. That’s as misleading as if I said I was using July 2012 as a base average and then said that 11 of the first 12 Julys this century were colder than average.

          You should either use the current 30-year period: or to use weather stations with a long term record and no urbanization and use the extended period of record (all 120 years if possible).

    3. Bill Steffen says:

      Lake Michigan was 9″ lower in 1964!

  17. Barry in Zeeland says:

    WINGS WIN!!! No who’s the idiot that scheduled a game 7 for 10 p.m. on a Sunday night?? Looks like the kids will be home from school Monday with a “sick day”.

    1. Jack says:

      :-) . Love it !!!!! :-)

  18. big Daddy BC says:

    Gotta wonder what this upcoming summer will do to our ongoing record!

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Global temperatures have been steady for 11+ years:

      24 of the 50 states STILL – 75 years later – have their hottest temperature records from the 1930s:

      And if you include our biggest state: you can see the colder trend over the last 8 years. 2012 was a cold year in Alaska and 2013 is certainly starting that way (think cold phase of the PDO)


  19. Dan says:

    Gotta wonder if Big Daddy is suffering from psychosis or a neurosis?
    He keeps quoting NASA, keeps bringing up the same old tired talking points, keeps telling Bill to stop posting right wing info, and he spends an entire blog post telling others that they’re wrong. Why is it that you must constantly take the abuse, Big Daddy? Are you really that lonely? Did you seriously think you could beat Bill at anything? Fictious bets and oh yeah, we cannot forget about the made up invitations for a debate. Seriously, Big Daddy are you alright?

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