Water levels in Great Lakes below recent years’ record high levels

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DETROIT – Despite wetter conditions in the past few months, the United States Army Corps of Engineers anticipate Great Lakes water levels to remain below levels recorded over the past two years. In 2019 and 2020 many record highs were set across the Great Lakes. 

The USACE reports that this year, seasonal water level increases (which normally take place in late spring and summer) leading up to peak levels were less than average on all the lakes. The release notes this is particularly true in the case for Lakes Michigan-Huron, which experienced its peak monthly mean level for the year in January. 

Keith Kompoltowicz, Detroit district Great Lakes Watershed hydrology chief said in a USACE release, “very heavy rainfall occurred across a large portion of the Great Lakes basin in late June and July. This significant precipitation led to a rise in Lakes Michigan-Huron water levels in July after several months of stable water level conditions.” 

With a very wet month of July, the total precipitation for the Great Lakes basin is expected to finish the month about 25 percent higher than average, reported Mr. Kompoltowicz. From June to July, Lake Superior remained near its June level, while Lakes Michigan-Huron rose three inches, and Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario all increased four inches from June to July.

For August through January, the USACE forecast indicates Great Lakes water levels will remain below record high levels, but above average on all lakes, except Lake Ontario.