Great Lakes Ice and Water Levels

March 30th, 2014 at 9:04 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Superior ice in late March comparison  Click on each image to enlarge.  This is a comparison of ice on Lake Superior with previous years.  We’ve never seen more at this time in late March and the wind coming off all that ice and snow up north will keep us chilly quite a few days in April.   Here’s the graph of ice this winter on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Here’s the GLERL ice analysis for the Great Lakes and for Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is unchanged in the last month.  The level is 13″ higher than it was one year ago, but remains 13″ below the long-term average, likely due to dredging the St. Clair River.  Lake Michigan/Huron is 15″ higher than it was in March 1964.  Lake Superior is down one inch in the last month, but is also 13″ higher than one year ago.  Superior is exactly at the century average and it is 19″ higher than the lowest March level of 1926 and 15″ below the highest March level of 1986.  There’s a lot of snow to melt around Lake Superior in April.  Lake Erie is up 4″ in the last month and is 4″ higher than one year ago.  Erie is one inch lower than the long-term average.  Ontario (which had the least ice cover and hence more evaporation over the last month) is down 2″ in the last month, down 2″ year-to-year and down 6″ from the century average.  Lake St. Clair is up 3″ in the last month, up 9″ in the last year and down 2″ from the century average.   You can check Michigan river levels here.   Most river levels in Southern Lower Michigan are well above average flow because of snowmelt.  Here’s an example, the Grand River at Ionia.  Here’s current Flood Advisories.  Here’s HPC’s total rainfall forecast for the next 7 days.  The heaviest rain stays to our south, but significant precipitation is still expected in SW Michigan.


9 Responses to “Great Lakes Ice and Water Levels”

  1. While watching the weather tonight, I heard Kyle Underwood say that 2 weeks from now is a “Mixed Forecast” Some models are saying we will be in the 70′s! Will some a trending colder. I sure hope we get those 70′s and get some good boomers to roll through here!

  2. Jack says:

    Bill + others. Here is Great Link for Monitoring Great Lakes ICE, and Shipping ,,!! Daily Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping News – BoatNerd.Com
    Stay Cued…

  3. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Has to be one of the fastest melts we’ve seen on the lakes in a long time.

    Lk Michigan, in particular, went from 90%+ to around 35% in about 2 weeks.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      What’s remarkable is the amount of ice that we still have on the lakes as we roll into April. Peak us this year came in March, in 1979 it was Feb. 19:

  4. Jacob G. says:

    Possibly because the wind storm in Feb really broke it up and while it recovered it never got time to get too thick. If we didn’t get that wind storm we probably wouldn’t have dropped so much. You can see that in the Artic come late summer and early fall. Not all too uncommon.

  5. Jacob G. says:

    A bit off topic but something interesting….Not sure if it is true but I read somewhere that March is the busiest month for earthquakes. Sure seems like there has been a lot of them this year, but nothing real major. Largest earthquake in 30 years at Yellowstone.

    1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

      My understanding there has been a lot minor shakes here in the u.s.lately.

    2. Bernie at the lakeshore says:

      The Steamboat Geyser just recently erupted too. I wouldn’t worry as long as Old Faithful keeps erupting on schedual.

  6. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

    I hope it does warm up to 60° on Monday.

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