Lake Huron levels plummet in 2012

by Alicia McCutcheon

LAKE HURON—Not surprisingly, Lake Huron’s water levels are on the decline after a spring and summer with little to no precipitation.

Chuck Southam, Environment Canada water resources engineer, explained that levels began to drop on June 22 following its seasonal rise beginning in mid-February.

“There is an 11 centimeter difference between February and June, where usually the average is more like 30 centimeters,” he said. “This is due to a lack of snow melt run-off and precipitation. Last year we had a good seasonal rise and a nice seasonal decline.”

“Levels have only been lower 11 times in July since 1918,” Mr. Southam added.

As of last Thursday, the common level of Lakes Huron-Michigan was 55 centimeters below average levels, 24 centimeters below last year, 24 centimeters below 2010 and 41 centimeters lower than 2009.

“While levels are a lot lower than 2009, they are similar to 2007 and 2003,” Mr. Southam noted.

The end of June saw Lake Huron at 176.07 meters, .07 meters above chart datum. As of Thursday, the level was at 176.02 meters.

According to the United States Army Corps of Engineers website on Great Lakes levels, Lake Huron has had 23.6 millimeters of precipitation in July—the average for July is 73.5 millimeters.

“If we don’t see wet weather in the fall, we could be close to the record lows of 1964,” he added. “By December, we could be only four centimeters above the record low.”