Great Lakes Water Levels

March 21st, 2014 at 3:34 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

lake michigan jack martin holland ice 3 18 14    The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is down 1″ in the last month, but up 12″ since one year ago.  The level remains 13″ below the century average.  Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month (not surprising since it’s been +90% ice covered for much of that time) and also up 12″ in the past year.  Superior is exactly at it’s average level.  Lake St. Clair is up 9″ in the last month (it varies more than the bigger lakes) and up 11″ in the last year.  Lake Erie is up 4″ in the last month, up 3″ in the last year and 2″ below the century average.  Lake Ontario (which is the lake that has had the most open water over the past month and quite likely the most evaporation) is down 2″ in the past month and down 2″ year-to-year.  Ontario is 6″ below the long-term average.   You can check Michigan river levels here.  Check out the Grand River in Grand Rapids.  You can see the level shot up about 1 1/2 feet when the ice jam broke up in Comstock Park.  Most rivers have above average flow.   Here’s the latest Flood Advisory from the G.R. National Weather Service.     The picture here was taken on 3/18 (Tue.) at the Holland Channel.  Jack took to the air to give you an overhead look at the ice and the channel.  Check out his video here.

Lake Superior at 95.3% ice cover on the first day of spring…compare to the last several years:  2010 5% 2011 9% 2012 2% 2013 10%.  Check out the ice on Lake Michigan near Northport.  Here’s Lake Michigan ice seen from a Coast Guard helicopter.   A larger than usual amount of salt is washing into Lake Michigan this year.  The Canadian Coast Guard is using more icebreakers on the Great LakesHiking across the ice to North Manitou Island.  Also, Comstock Park, Michigan makes the Buzzfeed.  So far in  2014, the coldest temperatures recorded were in Vostok, Antarctica with a low of -92 F (-69 C) & high of -76 F (-60 C)

Models:   The European model gives G.R. 0.14″ of precipitation (mainly light rain) this evening…the GFS plot is up to 0.27″.  We could get a few light snow showers or flurries Sat….the Euro. gives G.R. about 3/4″ snow Tuesday.  It sure is a cold pattern for this late in the season.  The European gives G.R. an 850mb temp. of -17° Sunday PM, -18° Monday AM and -16° Weds. AM.  Then it looks like a cold rain next Thurs. PM.  It still looks cool thru the rest of the month…in past years when it’s been cold/snowy we’ve flipped to warm in April…as early as 2nd week of April.

84 Responses to “Great Lakes Water Levels”

  1. TomKap (Michigan St. & Fuller) Grand Rapids says:

    BRING ON THE SUNSHINE TODAY!! Hooray, SPRING is finally here!!! :) :)

    1. Ned S. (East of Holland) says:

      You made it first again. Congratulations!

  2. Dan (Byron Center) says:

    Mild day. Then, we go back to cold weather with an arctic shot. Some mention of Lake Effect Snow as well.

    1. TomKap (GR-Michigan & Fuller) says:

      Ha! You amuse me every single morning!

      1. Dan (Byron Center) says:

        Only sharing a paraphrase from the NWS TomKap. It is Spring but still we have the influence of Winter. Trust me, it will warm up. Thanks for being civil and for not calling me names.

    2. Rodey (Rockford) says:

      You forgot to mention the moderating trend towards the end of the week.

      1. Dan (Byron Center) says:

        Do you understand the word paraphrase? Trained?

  3. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    Just thought of something. Anyone else realize that there hasn’t been any severe weather outbreaks in the South? Usually by now, there’s been storms and tornadoes across Dixie. Just an observation.

  4. Dan (Byron Center) says:

    Only sharing a paraphrase from the NWS TomKap. It is Spring but still we have the influence of Winter. Trust me, it will warm up. Thanks for being civil and for not calling me names.

  5. Dan (Byron Center) says:

    Comment appeared twice, not sure why.

  6. fixxxer says:

    If we dont warm up or at least average out soon id worry about spring and summer. The long range through may looks cold. Florida is looking better and better to me.

    1. yooper4021 says:

      Yep, heading to Key West in a month for vacation. Can’t wait!

    2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      After the extremes of this past winter, I think just about anything is possible.

    3. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      Good riddance – move to FL and you will still be whining and complaining about the weather 24/7!!

  7. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Get ready! We have a lot more COLD and SNOW coming! Forget Spring – we need more SNOW!

    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Never give up, brother. LOL

    2. Rodey (Rockford) says:

      Delusional as always.

      1. Jeff (Richland) says:


    3. suehelen says:

      Really, Rocky. It’s time to give it rest.

  8. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Snow cover has officially ended in SE Mich earlier this week. Who knows about DF’s yard though ;)

    My last three days have averaged out to be above average. Not a bad way to begin spring. And more 40′s today and tomorrow.

    Big question remains: do we get any more snow to break the record? It’s been quiet lately.

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:


      1. Barry in Zeeland says:

        Did you escape from Shutter Island?

    2. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Still about 40% coverage since you wanted to know. All-time records in Detroit and Flint. Flint smashed the old record by 13 days. Absolutely amazing what this winter brought after the below average snow predictions.

    3. yooper4021 says:

      We have a long way to go on the west side of the state. Driving home yesterday along the back roads from Cascade (SE GR) to Belmont (NE GR) – approx 15 miles – I’d estimate 80-90% white and especially deep in the wooded areas.

      1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

        Here in the GR area There is still a lot of snow in the woods and other shady areas and on the north facing sloops. Now in towns and open fields and south facing sloops there is a lot of bare ground,

  9. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    A thick layer of frost on my car this morning. I’ll be glad when I can finally put the scraper away.

  10. yooper4021 says:

    Accuweather has 64 degrees in Detroit for Tigers opening day, as does Weathertrends. WXYZ has dialed back their forecast to 50 (from 55 earlier this week). What do you think?

    1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      64 degrees and sunny… one can hope that it is somewhat accurate! That would be perfect.

      My guess for now: 50-58 still not bad!

    2. DF (SE Mich) says:

      We are way overdue for 60′s so lets hope their right but we know how those sites have done with warm ups this winter… Average high in Detroit on the 31st is 53° so 60° is easily possible.

      I guess 51° and rain, sorry :)

      1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

        Somebody’s a downer today

        1. DF (SE Mich) says:

          Didn’t you see the smiley? The GFS has a giant rain storm just before so that is my guess.

      2. Rocky (Rockford) says:

        All three site – ACCULESS, Whatevertrends and WXYZ have been horrible predicting mid and long range temps! They have been showing a terrible warm weather bias for the last few weeks and have been WRONG 100% of the time! They are spewing worthless information time and time again! They are almost as bad as Travis at this point! If anyone thinks there is a chance for temps in the 60′s on opening day they are living in fantasy land!

  11. on the Grand says:

    I ll be happy with just one more week of sorta cold weather, minus the snow and then we could be out of the woods with some flooding. The video of the ice jam was cool. Just wishing that it melts before it gets to us. It does have a long way to go. Lake Michigan is down and so are we. Not sure why. The river is almost clear and the birds are everywhere. A nice spring day. I will keep an eye out for the ice comming down the river.

    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      The Red Cedar River at the park just down the street has risen dramatically. Two days ago, it was just over the banks. Yesterday, the playgrounds were flooded. The parking lot is now under water. The Township put up the barricades this morning, closing the park.

    2. suehelen says:

      This cooler sunny weather has really been a blessing. I hope it continues for a bit.

  12. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Flint just needs two more days to fall below freezing to set an all-time record of days below 32°, which will happen easily. Detroit and Flint are up to 4th and 3rd coldest winter season (Nov-Mar) all-time. Detroit is the coldest in 102 years.

    The Detroit NWS continues to update stats here.

    I was well into my sailing season two years ago when many on here said cold March’s will never come again, lol.

  13. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Most locations in Michigan are running in the top 5 coldest March’s ever. We’ll see how it turns out. Grand Rapids is current #3 all-time I believe.

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      The record coldest March here in GR is 23.9 set in 1960 as of yesterday GR is at 24.2° and that should put GR in second place.

  14. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Happy first day of spring from my sailing club, LOL. Notice the snow Travis… and the frozen lake :)

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Kind of puts my yard’s 40% coverage to shame…

    2. yooper4021 says:

      My boss’s son’s high school sailing team was scheduled to have their first regatta this weekend in SE Mich. Yeah…not so much.

    3. GunLakeDeb says:

      That’s looking pretty bleak…..

    4. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      That looks AWESOME!!!!!!!

      1. GunLakeDeb says:

        Not if you’re hoping to get a boat into the water…..

  15. kevin. w says:

    If you look at the Euro here:!Geopotential%20500%20hPa%20and%20Temperature%20at%20850%20hPa!240!North%20America!pop!od!oper!public_plots!2010040812!/ you can see the trough gone in the east as well as the GFS ensemble model. Also the GEMNH has the trough gone in the east: Also the cold just about gone on this map: Hydrometeorological center was mentioning a big storm going up the eastern seaboard mid week next week followed by cold in the eastern two thirds of the U.S. followed by a significant pattern change starting the first week of April. I was reading some stuff from the Storm Prediction Center about the possibility of a big swing into severe weather season starting in Mid april. I see Easter(April 20th) are late this year so maybe a severe weather outbreak this year around then. I bet we have alot of flucuations in the weather department this year through at June~One day 80 the next 60 as we can get strong cold front crashing into the warmth/heat to the south. Probably straightline/derecho wind events this year. Spring is on the way. :) ;) ‘)

  16. kevin. w says:

    Also you can see on this map how the blue for 6 months is finally getting eatin away.

  17. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

    Fox News web page did a good report about our frozen great lakes.

  18. kevin. w says:

    They were just saying on the weather channel that the east coast and up toward Maine could see 20″ inches of snow next weekend followed floodind and 70 degree weather after the storm. Then the deep trough in the east finally moving out the first week of April with signs of a pattern shift.

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      They’ve had an awful winter (and now Spring?) too…..

    2. suehelen says:

      My daughter lives in Carthage, New York. They’ve been hit really hard this year. She’s over it. lol

  19. Intellicast has 56 Degrees March 30 and 61 March 31. That might be sign of a pattern shift

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      It’s called spring, average highs are into the 50′s by those days so we should be there. I can’t wait.

  20. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

    Drove to Ada yesterday to take pics of the ice jam and it was all gone. Wish i would’ve had the camera with me on Weds. Still have around 9″ of snow here.

  21. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Do my eyes deceive me? Is part of Lower Michigan actually forecasted to be “average temps” by the CPC? That would imply low 50′s. We’ll see what today’s update brings.

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Nice, I’ll take it.

    2. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      That’s a border line case LOL

    3. GunLakeDeb says:

      It’s lovely to see that we’re not in “Blue-so-dark-it-looks-black” range anymore!!!

    4. Jim S (Saugatuck Twp) says:

      I’ll be in Fla….and it is showing above normal which would be perfect.

    5. Wswplz says:

      This map can be a little deceiving as you must take into consideration that the map is broken into 1/3 ‘s over a 30 year time span, then separated into the warmest , coldest, and middle ten years for each. For example on this 8-14 climatology probability map it has 40 % chance (b) below normal temps for let’s say Cadillac and above, with 33% chance of near normal , and a 27% above normal. The same idea applies for the rest of the map , however one could scale according to how close / far away you are from the contours. With that in mind the near normal area remains “constant” in this example. The maps also very slightly depending on the forecasted period, although the same data is used from what I understand.( 1981-2010 )Feel free to correct or add anything ,as this is just my understanding.

      Here is another way to look at the data from CPC in a 2 class outlook: Above vs Below

  22. This is what the farmers almanac has for the spring severe weather season:

    In the 2014 Farmers’ Almanac, we predicted that “tornado alley,” in the nation’s midsection, would see an active year, with a dangerous flare-up in April and again in June.

    The Farmers Almanac has done a very accurate job for this month so far. It says a warm-up for later in the month and that looks like what is going to happen around here right now.

  23. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    With the cold that looks to be coming next week one has to wonder if GR can set a new record for the coldest March? The record coldest march is 23.9 set in 1960 and as of yesterday GR is now at 24.2° (or -9.3° below average) for this month.

  24. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    BTW April of 1960 was close to average and May was cooler then average and the summer was also cooler then average.

  25. Paul m says:

    Ice jam at US 31 drawbridge in Grand Haven

  26. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    We have some GREAT looking WINTER temperatures coming up beginning on Sunday and lasting well into next week! Keep em coming! I love it! The colder the better!

    1. Jeff (Richland) says:

      blah blah blah

      1. kevin. w says:

        I agree with you Jeff He must of been a great whining kindergartner back in the day…oh wait..

      2. Rocky (Rockford) says:

        Just the facts! You guys have been unwilling to face the facts all winter long, so why change now!!!!

  27. Rodey (Rockford) says:

    And still no snow. I love it. Fantastic.

  28. ArcherBull14 says:

    Do you think we will be back into “average” temperatures sometime in April/May?

  29. mr. negative says:

    Snow remains and cold reigns.

  30. on the Grand says:

    Huge ice jam at the 31 bridge. It encircles the railroad bridge to the Spring Lake bridge and down past the Holiday Inn. The side of the Bridge is jammed solid Nothing moving on top but the middle part of the bridge there is some slow movement. Then it gets stuck again at the railway bridge and that is a tight fit. Lots of people taking pictures. The channel out to the lake is clear with hardly any ice on it from the jam. So the ice must not be getting trough. The current on the river has picked up. We are still open water. I just did a measurement and yesterday we were down 4inches we are now up 3inches. I have 54 inches to the top of the wall. I have about 8 feet total before it gets to the house. I will be watching now. At this point not to worry but that may change.

  31. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

    I been hearing lately about some Blood Moon next month. I am not for ensure what the big deal is all about.

    1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      It’s s secret blood ritual that some of Bill’s bloggers do towards the moon to get their desired type of weather. Some of them use bricks? Others use blow torches?

      1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

        Can I join?

  32. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Another sunny day and 40 degrees currently. Feels nice out!

    Saw the Great Lakes are already down to 77% ice coverage from their 90%+ peak.

    1. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

      40° and sunny here too. I heard that inland lakes around here still have 12-18″ of ice on them. Looking like there will be at least some ice fishing in April this year.

      1. GunLakeDeb says:

        This is my totally-unscientific description of ice’s “life”: when it’s “born” – ice is incredibly strong. It’s bond to other ice crystals is amazing – I have walked on 1-1/2 to 2″ thick new (“black”) ice quite safely. It will always warn you if you start to exceed its strength, with groans and cracking sounds.

        By Spring, the ice is getting bombed by the sun and it undergoes crystalline changes and becomes anti-social. It’s not bonded to its neighboring ice – it gets crumbly/granular. It turns whitish-colored. And it become silent – it will NOT warn you – will simply dump you into the lake even when it’s 4″ thick.

        Voice of experience here, with Spring ice. This is my path out about 125′, to rescue a dog who had fallen through the ice. As I pushed the rescue boat – *I* fell through, too… the close ice was about 6″ thick – the farther-out ice was about 4″

  33. on the Grand says:

    I hate it when little creatures will not heed. Hope all is well, I waded into ankle deep water to save my cat. Who was stalking ducks.

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