Great Lakes Water Levels Continue Upward Trend

June 27th, 2013 at 8:38 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan summer Arcadia   This is a spectacular overlook on M-22 near Arcadia (between Manistee and Frankfort) where bluffs rise 400 feet above Lake Michigan.  We stop here often when we go back and forth to Traverse City.  Pic. by Jack Martin at ReportIt.  Check out the picture full screen.   The water level of all five Great Lakes (and Lake St. Clair) are now higher than one year ago.  The level of Lake Michigan/Huron gained another inch in the past week.   The level is up 4″ in the last month and it’s now one inch above the level of one year ago.  The lake is now 13″ above the record lowest June level of 1964.  It’s still 18″ below the 100-year average (remember I linked to this article from the Milwaukee Journal.  The article states “The St. Clair (River) has been heavily dredged for over a century, and the federal government has long acknowledged that this human meddling in the riverbed has led to a permanent drop of about 16 inches from Michigan and Huron’s long-term average.  A Canadian conservation group created by property owners from northern Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay hired its own engineering firm to conduct a study of what was going on in the St. Clair River back in 2004. That study said the water lost from the lakes by expanding the river channel was actually much greater than 16 inches – and getting worse.”   If this is to be believed, without the dredging, we’d be at or even above average water levels right now.

Lake Superior has had the 2nd biggest spring water level rise in recorded (back to 1918) history.  It’s also up 4″ in the last month (each inch is 552 billion gallons!) and is now six inches below the long-term average.   It’s now 18″ above the lowest June recorded level (in 1926) and 18″ below the highest recorded June level (in 1986).  Lake Erie is up 6″ in the last month, 3″ inches higher than at this time last year and just 3″ below the average June level.  Lake Ontario has gained a whopping TEN INCHES of water in the last month.  Ontario is 11″ higher than one year ago and 5″ ABOVE the century average.

Here’s some river volumes as of 8:30 PM Thursday.  First figure is current flow in cubic feet per second and the second number is the median river flow for late June:  Grand River, Grand Rapids 4510 – 2430, Thornapple River, Hastings 303 – 169, Looking Glass River, Eagle 280 – 87, Muskegon River, Croton 1790 – 1419, Flint River, Flint 1210 – 268, Saginaw River, Saginaw 7030 – 3030, Huron River, Ann Arbor 2220 – 297, Kalamazoo River, New Richmond 3180 – 1800, St. Joseph River, Niles 4850 – 2859, Fox River, Oshkosh WI 7250 – 3920.    With rivers running this high, the water level may jump another inch in the next week.

10 Responses to “Great Lakes Water Levels Continue Upward Trend”

  1. TreasureHunter says:

    That’s more great news. I actually work in Ann Arbor during the week. It has rained heavily each of the past 3 nights. This evening, the rains were torrential. Localized flooding and accidents everywhere. Some farmlands are definitely too wet; however, I thought I could see the corn growing as I drove by. Some fields have corn that is close to 4 feet tall already.

    Wishing I had a better camera to take a picture of an extremely bright and beautiful rainbow after one of the systems moved through. What a blessing to see such a sight. Headed back to GR tomorrow to hopefully enjoy a much less hot and humid weekend of fun, fishing, and family!

    Thanks again for all you do and the great information and articles provided.

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      I live and work on the west side just out of A2. The rain was torrential to say it mildly.

      Great news for the big lakes! Keep the rain coming!

      1. carrie (byron center) says:

        This is good news….long live our beautiful great lakes!!!

      2. Brian(Grandville) says:

        Yes, this is good. Keep it coming. A far different scenario than last summer, and for the better it seems.

  2. Mindy ( Mason MI ) says:

    With all this Rain, couldn’t even enjoy to sit outside,the Mosquitoes sure flaired up last couple of days with the warm & muggy weather!!! Their really tiny and man do they BITE!!! Been 2 years and hardy any Mosquitoes. Not this Summer. I HATE MOSQUITOES!!!!

    1. Ben (Charlotte MI) says:

      They are unbearable here as well. I normally love summer, but I would rather be outside on a 15 degree day than deal with the mosquitoes we have right now.

  3. k-man says:


  4. Jack Martin ( Fennville, Michigan) says:

    Thank You Bill, Great news for the Great Lakes! The views there are spectacular and the scenes from Travis City and south are beautiful. Like a whole new realm from South to North!

  5. Mike Abbott says:

    Just six days after you posted your article, AccuWeather posted an article with the exact opposite theme:

    Concerns Mount Over Declining Water Levels in Great Lakes

    One commenter, citing your article, emphatically claimed that the AccuWeather article was not true, but in a reply the AccuWeather author stuck to his story. Amazingly, the AccuWeather article does not say a peep about dredging or attempt to explain (but at least noted) the unprecedented 3 foot drop in water levels from 1998 to 2001.

  6. Bill Steffen says:

    The AccuWeather article has to be especially puzzling to someone along Lake Ontario, where the level this week is 7 inches ABOVE the average level and up 13″ in the last year. ALL of the Great Lakes are higher today than they were one year ago.

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