Great Lakes Ice and Water Levels

April 24th, 2014 at 10:43 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Great Lakes Historical Ice for Late April   Great Lakes Ice late April Click on the images to enlarge.  The image on the left (from Environment Canada) is the percent of ice on the Great Lakes, which is now almost DOUBLE the previous record.  The image on the right (from NOAA Coastwatch) shows the ice on the Great Lakes today.  We still have approx. 35% ice cover on the Great Lakes.  The AVERAGE ice cover for 4/25 is 1%.    The 4/25  ice percentage shows 17.5% ice cover on Lake MichiganLake Superior still shows a 67.5% ice cover, Lake Huron is at 25.7%, Lake Erie (the southernmost Great Lake) is at 7.0% ice cover and Lake Ontario is has a 0.9% ice cover.   This adds up to 32,400 square miles of ice left on the Great Lakes!

The latest Great Lakes water levels from the Army Corps of Engineers shows that 3 of the 5 Great Lakes are now ABOVE their historical water level average.  Lake Michigan/Huron (one lake for lake level purposes) is now back to single digits below average.   Lake Michigan/Huron is up 7″ in the last month and up 11″ year-to-year.  It’s now 9″ below the long-term average.  Lake Superior is up 4″ in the last month, up an astonishing 14″ year-to-year and it’s now 2″ above the century average.  Lake Erie is up 8″ in the last month, 6″ in the last year and is now 1″ above the historical average.   Lake Ontario is up an amazing 17″ in the last month, up 6″ in the last year and is now 4″ above the long-term average.  The lakes are expected to gain another 2-4″ by the end of May.  The outflow from Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River is expected to continue to be above average.  That water feeds down into Lake Michigan/Huron.

There is only one River Advisory left in our area, that for the Muskegon River at Evart and that Advisory is expected to come down sometime in the next 48 hours.   See more Michigan river levels here.

With a SE wind – it was just as warm at the Lake Michigan shoreline as it was inland.  The high temperature today on the beach at Muskegon was 58.2° and on the beach at S. Haven it was 60.7°.  It was a different story on the other side of Lake Michigan, where the SE wind off Lake Michigan kept the high temperature down to 43.6 on the beach at Milwaukee.


24 Responses to “Great Lakes Ice and Water Levels”

  1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

    That’s a lot of ice still left!!

  2. Jacob G says:

    Per the Gaylord NWS this morning…”TIS THE SEASON FOR SLOW SYSTEM EVOLUTION AND CUTOFF LOWS” May is notorious for these cutoff lows that can take a up to week to go by and make it cool and with showers. The Euro Weeklies last night has some hope for sustained warmth coming up after first week in May. Last night’s run was warmer then earlier in the week. It does have Texas starting to cool off and becoming more wet. If we can a scenario where its warm over the top of the nation and cool towards the south severe weather will be reduced again. Way to early yet to call May below average on national severe weather. I think we are still severe weather free for the foreseeable future here in LP. We still have regional issues with the cooler lakes to overcome so don’t get too excited to plant anything until earliest Memorial day this year that can be sensitive.

  3. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    With it being late April now and with all of the ice still on the great lakes and the snow still on the ground to the north of us, I would not be too surprised to see chances of frost until June this year and depending on how warm it gets in May and June there very well could be ice flows on Lake Michigan until late May and on Lake Superior until June and maybe even July. Lets hope not but who knows!

  4. DF (SE Mich) says:

    In Marquette, where the snow total has been well below normal because Lake Superior froze so early, now passed 190″ of snow for the season. That is only 9.8″ behind average for the year… 31″ this month alone. They could still make it to average this year.

    The lake rises are amazing and welcomed. The rise in Lake Ontario is nuts, check it out:

  5. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Here is a cool link to check out great lakes water temperatures. All the lakes are well below normal, as you’d expect with the ice remaining. Lake Superior is still flat lined at freezing.

    1. kevin. w says:

      Even if we have a hot summer the shore lines will still end up about 10 degrees cooler than average. I was up at Marquette a few years back the temperature was in the mid 80s then the wind shifted off of Superior the temperature dropped down into the upper 60s in a matter of a few hours.

    2. GunLakeDeb says:

      That’s pretty amazing. In 2012 (naturally) – I went swimming in Lake Superior (July) because the water temps were so incredibly warm (70′s). This year??? NOT going to be a “swimming in Superior” year, I’m afraid…

  6. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Earlier in the week we had a bunch of hype about near 70 for today, I’m just hoping we make it relatively close to normal as it stands.

    1. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

      You can’t always believe the hype on this blog. My wife bought me a new sun tea jar,no sun…no sun tea.

  7. Larry of Hastings, barry co says:

    Cold rainy nasty day here in west Michigan. If I was able, I would go back to bed for the rest of the day.LOL.

  8. bluegill says:

    This morning was the first time in months driving along East Grand Traverse Bay that I didn’t see any ice of any kind. Also – the snow is finally melted in my yard, though there is some across the road. Ice went off my lake on Monday. Could be spring on the way in Northern Michigan after this next week?

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      I have a friend with a cabin near Paradise (UP) – they’re supposed to get snow tonight; and possibly snow next week? I told him he should go up there, just to say he had to snowshoe into his cabin – in MAY!

  9. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    Dreary day, but we need the rain. NWS still has 57 for a high here today. I doubt it will get that warm.

  10. Daniel G says:

    Your previous ice cover blog and photo’s show 7% ice cover on Lake Erie. This article says 70% cover. Typo?

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Yup…it’s supposed to be 7.0% – the period got lost somewhere – I fixed it.

  11. steven (Derby Lake) says:

    Is it suppose to be cloudy all day or is the sun going to break through later?

    1. steven (Derby Lake) says:

      Found it. Looks like between 4-6 pm the sun will try to break through

  12. Rad (Jenison/Hudsonville) says:

    Almost Noon here and temp is 45, I dont think we will hit the forcasted 59. Come on Sun show yourself today….

  13. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

    The SVR weather to our far south is really looking to heat up next week , starting day 3 . ( Sunday – Tuesday )
    Day 3 : outlook

    A few words from the day 4-5 outlooks ( notice the expected jet day 5 )

    OF THE TWO -

  14. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

    Next week looks to be a wet one for some and we could also see some decent accums next week , especially with this expected weather pattern which usually ushers in slow moving systems . Someone plz que the sun , I’m ready…!

    WPC : 7 day totals

  15. Dikehopper (Fennville) says:

    For what it’s worth to anyone:

    “The Decline of Tornado Devastation…Despite what you might have heard about ‘extreme weather events,’ damage and loss of life from twisters is in retreat.”

    1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

      You know severe weather is off to slow start when Ca was outpacing the rest of usual suspects combined earlier this year. This is definitely a good thing that the frequency of SVR weather has been trending down , however we must not get complacent as it just takes one strong storm to create a bad situation. One thing seems to remain true about weather , that being it comes and goes as it pleases , no matter what we delineate / label as the causation .

      1. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

        * Ca tornadoes ( meaning SVR )

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