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Boreal Community Media

Great Lakes achieve record high water levels, again

Jun 22, 2019 11:13AM ● By Editor

From WJRT-TV - June 21, 2019

The onslaught of wet, dreary weather continues and brings yet another unwanted record.

For the second month in a row, every single Great Lake has water levels that are at their highest ever recorded. That’s right, we have officially set a record high for June across the entire basin. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, that level could rise a few more inches through July.

The Lake Michigan-Lake Huron basin is now 1 inch above the June record with Lake Superior, Erie, and Ontario coming in at 3-5 inches higher. 

The number that really stands out though are just how quickly the lakes rose in the last few weeks and the departure from average.

Since May 21st, Lake Michigan-Huron has risen 6 inches and Lake Superior is up two inches. Both Lake Erie and Ontario have seen the water rise an additional 4 inches. It doesn’t sound like much but back in May Lake Ontario shot up almost 2 feet!

The departure from the long-term average for June is truly impressive as well. Lake Michigan-Huron and Lake Erie are 32 inches above that average with Lake Superior coming in at 16 inches above.

Once again, Lake Ontario impresses the most with a water level 33 inches above the long-term May average.

Why is this happening? Heavy precipitation and heavy flows into the Great Lakes have been a direct contributor over recent months. Many areas have seen precipitation above normal or even record breaking and that was after a wet and snowy winter.

So far, June 2019 will go down as top 10 wettest for many locations around the Great Lakes. Not good.

If the above average precipitation continues into the summer the lake levels could continue to rise even further.

High lake levels bring a number of issues to our state and surrounding areas. High erosion along the shoreline, property damage, and numerous rounds of flooding from highs winds blowing already high waters onshore.

Thankfully we appear to be drying out and warming up in the short-term forecast. This will help dry up some water by causing a faster rate of evaporation.

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