Great Lakes Water Levels

June 14th, 2013 at 3:15 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan Jack Martin June flowers   Another great pic. from Jack Martin showing Thursday’s bright blue sky.  Click on the image or click here to enlarge.    The water level of Lake Michigan(Huron) is up another inch.  We are now back to the same level we were at one year ago.  The lake is up 5″ in the last month (each inch is 390 billion gallons of water) and 11″ above the lowest June level of 1964.   We’re still 19″ below the long-term average level.  Lake Superior continues to add water.  Superior is up 7″ in the last month and is now 4″ higher than one year ago.  Lake Superior had the second biggest monthly increase in water level ever earlier this spring and is now just 7″ from the long-term average level.   Lake Erie is up 5″ in the last month and is now at the same level as one year ago.  Erie is 4″ below the century average.  Lake Ontario is on the plus side on all counts.  Ontario is up a whopping 9″ in just the last month.  It’s 7″ higher than one year ago and 2″ above the long-term average.

Rainfall from the storms Weds. PM/Night:  4.85″ Diamondale,  4.1″ west of Wayland, 3.92″ near Lansing, 3.75″ Middleville (thru 1 AM – it was still raining there), 3.31″ Hopkins, 3.07 E. Lansing, 2.97″ Grand Ledge, 2.87″ Dorr, 2.83″ Hastings, 2.42″ Holland, 2.37″ Freeport.  35,000 customers lost power, mainly due to strong wind and mainly in Van Buren, S. Allegan and Barry Counties.  Winds hit 74 mph on the S. Haven beach.  The water level on the Grand River at Lansing went up 6 feet in less than 12-hours with the rain.  Both the Macatawa River at Zeeland and the Rabbit River at Hopkins rose nearly five feet.  Early Friday AM, the crest on the Grand River was just east of Ionia, where the flow of water was more than 3 1/2 times average flow for June 14.  In downtown Grand Rapids, the river is up about 2 feet (and rising) and is approaching double average flow.   The recent rains will likely bump up the water level of Lake Michigan another inch in the next 10 days.  Michigan river levels here.

Also:  First look at a shipwreck and Happy Flag Day!

21 Responses to “Great Lakes Water Levels”

  1. Blue Moon says:

    too much talking Terry, too little forecasting

  2. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Since the water level fell drastically from this point on last year, the water level this year will leave it in the dust. Hopefully the rain keeps up. It is amazing all the lakes except huron and michigan are close or above the long term average.
    They are going to have to adjust their forecasts =)

  3. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    A few thoughts as we approach mid month. As of June 13, 2013 GR is at -1.6° below average for the month. At the airport they recorded 2.51″ of rain so far (running above average so far) The warmest it has been recorded here in GR so far this month is only 81° (after all the average high is now 79) and the coldest for this June is 41°.Looking ahead the second half of June looks to be a little warmer with near to maybe just above average temps so expect highs of around 80 for the most part the next two weeks. BTW I received 1.32″ with Wednesdays event.

  4. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    I almost forgot while its now almost all gone the snow patch on mt Ripley is STILL there!!!!

    I wounder dose anyone know 1. how long the snow usually stay there. 2. when was the latest it has melted?


  5. DF (SE Mich) says:

    First storm report I’ve seen from a ship =) Nice.

    353 PM EDT THU JUN 13 2013


    06/12/2013 M52 MPH LMZ874 MI SHIP

    SHIP ID WC5932

  6. Jack Martin ( Fennville, Michigan) says:

    Thank You Bill, Great weather and great game this evening! If we get there in time , will stop by and say hi! Go Griffins!

  7. Teresa says:

    Bill, will the water from Lake Sup. funnel down and increase the level in Lake Michigan?

    1. Daniel G says:

      No, it gets diverted at Mackinac Bridge and sent to the AuSable river!

  8. Teresa says:

    by the way, 3/10 of an inch of rain in central Calhoun County with the storms that blew through the other night.

  9. bluegill says:

    In Amsterdam the past couple days. Many people wearing fall/winter jackets, scarves and a few people with gloves. It has felt like those cool, wet late October days in Michigan (though the sun finally came out this evening). The train I was on yesterday was supposed to go to Berlin, but was rerouted to Hanover because of the flooding in Berlin. Strange weather everywhere it seems.

  10. Nathan (Forest Hills) says:

    Happy Flag Day everyone!

  11. mr. negative says:

    SE GR received 1.5 inches from Wednesday’s rain.

  12. Brian(Grandville) says:

    Just west of Richland on M89 a saw a house with a pole barn that was completely destroyed, as well as all the trees in the yard. There was also a large piece of siding rapped around a tree across the street.

  13. fixxxer says:

    Seing some pretty warm weather coming! BRING IT ON..

    1. Brian(Grandville) says:

      80′s are as warm as we’re getting this summer. Its gonna be great.

    2. michael g (SE GR) says:

      …or what the NWS says….

      MID WEEK.

  14. glenn byxbe says:

    i think with the water levels going up everyone can buy more bottled water to take the water back out of the lakes for reproduction of tap water.

    1. michael g (SE GR) says:


  15. Jim in Livonia says:

    Those of you interested in Great Lakes Water levels might find this to be interesting:

    Drew Gronewold gave a recent lecture with some more detail on this:

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Thanks for the links, Jim. I watched them both. Here’s a few thoughts on the Gronewold lecture

      - He makes no mention of dredging, nor the 2 Canadian studies that show dredging the St. Clair River has reduced the water level of Lake Michigan/Huron significantly. He should have mentioned it. BTW, could the 1 meter rise in Lake Erie been partly caused by dredging. Did Lake Michigan/Huron drop when Erie was going up? It might be worth checking.

      - Lake Michigan/Huron has come back a lot this spring. We are now 11″ above the lowest June level of 1964. As of this week, Lake Ontario is 2″ above average level and Lake Erie is only 4″ below the long-term average level. Lake Superior has had the 2nd biggest spring rise ever and is now 7″ below the average level. Lake Michigan/Huron stands out at 19″ below the century average compared to the other Great Lakes. Dredging the St. Clair River would only affect Lake Michigan/Huron.

      - I’m glad he mentioned isostatic rebound. He did a nice job explaining that. I’ve seen people misuse sea level change at selected spots that have experienced lift or subsidence to try and make the case that sea level is rising or falling.

      - The decade of the 2000s was the snowiest decade ever in G.R. I don’t think that declining snowfall is a major factor in the recent lower water levels on Lake Michigan/Huron. In many years, when snowfall is down, overall precipitation is up, like the winter of 2011-12 and 2012-13.

      - Note that he said that evaporation is extremely difficult to measure, that they’ve only been trying to do that over the last handful of years and that they have “model derived estimates”. There certainly should have been more evaporation than average during the very warm March we had in 2012, but this spring was just the opposite, with temperatures well below average in March and the heavy rain/flood/high humidity in April. We also had a stretch of 5 out of 6 months with below average sunshine in G.R. this winter/spring.

      - The whole argument that the lack of ice cover has caused Lake Michigan/Huron to drop precipitously seems weak to me. The ice on Lake Michigan/Huron is there for only a limited time, usually in a limited area (Green Bay – and the Straits – like it was this year). The Great Lake that gets the highest percentage of surface ice cover in winter is shallow Lake Erie, and the water level of Lake Erie is fairly close to average.

      - Finally, I hope the Michael Moore that Gronewald referred to at the end of his lecture is not the Fidel Castro-loving movie maker (who claims he’s just a regular part of the 99%) with the really rich SECOND home worth 2 million on Torch Lake

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