Lake Huron continues to post above average water levels despite poor rain

LAKE HURON—Despite the dry conditions Manitoulin Island has experienced so far this summer, Lake Huron is holding its own in the water levels department, posting above-average levels for July.

“There are interesting things going on with Lakes Huron and Michigan,” said Derrick Beach, editor of Environment Canada’s LEVELNews.

Mr. Beach explained that in November and December, the period that would normally see a seasonal decline, Lake Huron saw a small rise—a first in a century of record-keeping. Mr. Beach said there are two reasons for this: warmer temperatures that saw precipitation falling as rain directly into the lake, rather than snow or ice, and the fact that there were no major temperature spikes, the kind that cause evaporation.

March added to the mix of conditions that lent itself to keeping the levels high, as Lake Huron saw double the average levels of precipitation fall that month which made up for the lack of spring runoff.

“This set us up for April to June,” Mr. Beach continued. These three months saw well below the average precipitation numbers, but the beginning of July levels are still above average, by 28 centimetres, and 12 centimetres above last year’s levels for the same time—the highest levels since 1998.

“So we’re doing well,” he said. “It’s the sum of all the different parts.”

Lake Superior, however, has seen record breaking precipitation recently, which has also helped keep Lake Huron’s numbers high; that and the fact that the beginning of July precipitation figures for Lakes Huron and Michigan are actually higher than average for the watershed, this thanks to rains in Michigan.

Mr. Beach said that ,should Lake Huron see extremely dry conditions for the rest of the summer, the Great Lake will still see above average levels until November. “There’s enough water in the system to provide a buffer,” he added. “We’re predicting that we’ll stay well above average.”