Great Lakes Water Levels Current and Historical Data & Graphs (June 2022 Update)

Each month we summarize reports and data from the Army Corps of Engineers – Detroit District’s Monthly and Weekly reports for Great Lakes Water Levels and Great Lakes Water Level History. We present a single-page view of the changes in lake levels from month to month are presented for Lakes Huron-Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake St. Clair.


Great Lakes Basin Weather Conditions Over the Past Month Affecting Water Levels

Precipitation estimates for May show that the Great Lakes area got near-average precipitation. Lake Superior experienced above-normal rainfall for the month, averaging roughly 3.5 inches, while the Lakes Michigan-Huron and Ontario basins received below-average rainfall, averaging 84% and 78% of average, respectively. Runoff was higher than average in the Superior basin and some regions of the Michigan-Huron and Erie basins, but average runoff prevailed across the basins. According to preliminary estimates, Lake Superior had the third most significant water supply on record for May, owing to above-average precipitation and runoff. The Michigan-Huron basin had above-average water supplies, the Erie basin received near-average water supplies, and the Ontario basin received slightly below-average water supplies.

Outflows were above average, except for Lake Superior, which stayed below average. As a result, water levels rose from April to May. Lake Superior increased by 8 inches, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario increased by 4, 3, and 2 inches. Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to continue their seasonal climb over the next month, while Lakes St. Clair and Erie will remain at their present levels, and Lake Ontario will decline.

Outflow Estimates Affecting Great Lakes Levels

Lake Superior’s outflow through the St. Marys River, Lake Huron-Michigan’s outflow through the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair’s outflow through the Detroit River, Lake Erie’s outflow through the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario’s outflow through the St. Lawrence River are all expected to be above average in June, according to forecasts.

Weather Impact

Observations as of June 10, 2022 – Temperatures in the Great Lakes basin have been somewhat below average for this time of year during the last week. The work week also featured unpredictable weather conditions, with repeated rounds of rainfall, particularly in the basin’s central and eastern regions. Last week, the Lakes Michigan-Huron, Erie, and Ontario basins received about 1 inch of rain. Rain is expected to fall throughout much of the Great Lakes area this weekend, except for the Lake Superior basin, which is expected to be mostly dry. A rising trend is a forecast this weekend and throughout the work week, with temperatures rising above average.

Except For Lake Ontario, All The Great Lake Water Levels Remain Below Last Year But Remained Above Long Term Average

Forecasted water levels for June 10th show that water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair have risen by 6, 2, and 2 inches, respectively, since last month. Lake Ere is back to where it was a month ago, but Lake Ontario has dropped by 2 inches. Lake Superior is approaching its level from last year, but Lake Ontario is 17 inches higher than last year. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 1 to 5 inches lower than the previous year. Furthermore, all lakes’ predicted June 10th water levels are higher than their long-term average June levels. Lakes’ water levels are expected to climb by 1 to 2 inches by July 10th.

Lakes Michigan-Huron Water Levels

Lakes Michigan-Huron Water Levels June 2022
Lakes Michigan-Huron Water Levels June 2022

Last Month’s Observations Water Levels Lakes Michigan-Huron

On April 8, 2022, the water level is forecasted at 579.49 feet. Lake Michigan-Huron had dropped 12 inches since April 2021 but rose 4 inches over the past month. Levels were down 26 inches below the monthly high mean record set in 2020. Lake Huron remains at 40 inches above the record monthly low, set in 1964. The lakes are expected to rise by four inches through mid-May 2022. Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to stay above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2022. For reporting purposes, Lakes Michigan-Huron is the same body of water.

Current Month’s Water Levels for Lakes Michigan-Huron

On June 10th, 2022, the water level is forecasted at 580.05 feet. Lake Michigan-Huron had dropped 5 inches since June 2021 but rose 2 inches over the past month. Levels were down 26 inches below the monthly high mean record in 2020. Lake Huron remains 41 inches above the record monthly low set in 1964. The lakes are expected to rise by one inch through mid-July 2022. Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to stay above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2022. For reporting purposes, Lakes Michigan-Huron is the same body of water.

Lake Superior Water Level

Lake Superior Water Level June 2022
Lake Superior Water Level June 2022

Last Month’s Observations for Lake Superior

April 8, 2022, the Lake Superior water level is forecasted to be 600.95 feet. This is no change in levels reported last month and 13 inches less than reported last year. This is 20 inches less than the high record monthly mean water level set in 1986 and 18 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1926. Over the next month, Lake Superior is expected to drop by two inches. Lake Superior is expected to stay at or slightly below its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2022.

Current Month’s Water Level For Lake Superior

As of June 10th, 2022, the Lake Superior water level is forecasted to be 602.20 feet. This is a rise of 6 inches in levels reported last month and the same level reported last year. This is 11 inches less than the high record monthly mean water level set in 2019 and 28 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1926. Over the next month, Lake Superior is expected to rise by two inches. Lake Superior is expected to stay at or slightly below its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2022.

Lake St. Clair Water Level

Lake St. Clair Water Levels June 2022
Lake St. Clair Water Levels June 2022

Last Month’s Observations for Lake St. Clair

As of April 2022, Lake St. Clair’s water level is forecasted to be 575.43 feet. The lake rose 3 inches in the past month but is 5 inches less than reported last year. This is 20 inches less than the high record monthly mean water level set in 2020 and 42 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1926. Over the next month, Lake St. Clair is expected to increase by 4 inches through mid-May. Lake St. Clair is expected to stay above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2022.

Current Month’s Water Level for Lake St. Clair

As of June 10th, 2022, Lake St. Clair’s water level is forecasted to be 575.95 feet. The lake rose 2 inches in the past month but is 2 inches less than reported last year. This is 19 inches less than the high record monthly mean water level set in 2020 and 43 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1934. Over the next month, Lake St. Clair is expected to decrease by 1 inch through mid-May. Lake St. Clair is expected to stay above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2022.

Lake Erie Water Level

Lake Erie Water Levels June 2022
Lake Erie Water Levels June 2022

Last Month’s Observations for Lake Erie

As of April 8, 2022, Lake Erie’s water level is forecasted to be 572.80 feet. This is four inches more from the recorded lake level last month but 1 inch less than what was recorded last year. This is 18 inches less than the record high water level in 2020 and 48 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1934. Over the next month, Lake Erie is expected to rise by 4 inches. Lake Erie is expected to stay above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2022.

Current Month’s Water Level for Lake Erie

As of June 10th, 2022, Lake Erie’s water level is forecasted to be 573.10 feet. This is no change from the recorded lake level last month but 1 inch less than what was recorded last year. This is 18 inches less than the record high water level in 2019 and 48 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1934. Over the next month, Lake Erie is expected to decrease by 1 inch. Lake Erie is expected to stay slightly above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2022.

Lake Ontario Water Level

Lake Ontario Water Levels June 2022
Lake Ontario Water Levels June 2022

Last Month’s Observations for Lake Ontario

As of April 8, 2022, Lake Ontario’s water level is forecasted to be 246.33 feet. This is five inches higher change from the past month and 20 inches higher than measured last year. This is 22 inches less than the record high monthly mean water level set in 1973 and 41 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1935. Over the next month, Lake Ontario is expected to drop by 2 inches. Lake Ontario is expected to drop below its long-term monthly mean water level later in 2022.

Current Month’s Water Level for Lake Ontario

As of June 10, 2022, Lake Ontario’s water level is forecasted to be 246.56 feet. This is two inches less than the past month and 17 inches higher than measured last year. This is 30 inches less than the record high monthly mean water level set in 2019 and 38 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1935. Over the next month, Lake Ontario will drop by 4 inches. Lake Ontario is expected to drop below its long-term monthly mean water level later in 2022.


Great Lakes Water Levels Future Scenarios

These scenarios are intended to depict events that might occur under historical weather and water supply conditions, with scenarios chosen based on similarity to current conditions. Based on past hydrologic conditions and water supplies, this tool has mostly been used to depict the likely range of Great Lakes water levels in the future year.

Great Lakes Water levels follow a cyclical cycle, with lakes often declining during the autumn and early winter owing to increased evaporation as temperatures drop and cold air flows over the comparatively warm lake waters. Water levels often rise in the spring as a result of higher precipitation and increased runoff from melting. The combined impact of precipitation over the lake, evaporation from the lake, and runoff to the lake is referred to as Net Basin Supply (NBS).

The purple plume in this issue of the Water Level Future Scenarios represents nine years when the maximum Great Lakes total ice cover was about 56 percent. The maximum ice cover for the Great Lakes during the winter of 2021-2022 was 56%, somewhat higher than the long-term average.


Lake Superior Lake Level Forecast Through 1Q 2023

Lake Superior Mean Water Levels Thru April 2023
Lake Superior Mean Water Levels Thru April 2023

Among all Great Lakes water levels forecasted, Lake Superior’s water levels are expected to stay above their long-term average through 1Q 2023.


Lakes Michigan-Huron Forecast Through 1Q 2023

Lakes Michigan-Huron Mean Water Levels Thru 1Q 2023
Lakes Michigan-Huron Mean Water Levels Thru 1Q 2023

Among all Great Lakes water levels forecasted, Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to continue to be above its long-term average through 1Q 2023.


Lake St.Clair Forecast Through 1Q 2023

Lake St.Clair Mean Water Levels Thru 1Q 2023
Lake St.Clair Mean Water Levels Thru 1Q 2023

Among all Great Lakes water levels forecasted, Lake St.Clair is expected to continue to be well above its long-term average through 1Q 2023.


Lake Erie Forecast Through 1Q 2023

Lake Erie Mean Water Levels Thru 1Q 2023
Lake Erie Mean Water Levels Thru 1Q 2023

Among all Great Lakes water levels forecasted, Lake Erie is expected to continue to be above its long-term average in 2022.


Great Lakes Water Levels Data 1919-2021

Below are the monthly mean average water levels for each of the Great Lakes. All levels are referenced to the International Great Lakes Datum of 1985 (IGLD 85). Water levels have been coordinated with Canada for 1918-2020.

Great Lakes Water Levels 1919-2021
Great Lakes Water Levels 1919-2021

Dynamic Great Lakes – Lake Level Viewer – From NOAA


Key Questions on Great Lakes Water Levels

Are Great Lakes water levels climbing or receding?

All the Great Lake water levels remain above their long-term average. Except for Lake Superior, all the Great Lakes are expected to remain above their long-term averages for the next five years.

Why are Great Lakes water levels staying so high?

Water levels follow a seasonal cycle where water levels rise in the spring due to increased precipitation and enhanced runoff from snowmelt. In the fall, the lakes generally decline due to an increase in evaporation as temperatures decline and cold air moves over the relatively warm lake waters. However, the high rates of precipitation in the Upper Great Lakes have kept overall lake levels high


Great Lakes Water Levels Reading from Amazon

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Related Reading Great Lakes Water Levels Forecasts 2022

Current Great Lakes Ice Coverage Winter 2021-2022 – Dynamically update data from NOAA and the National Weather Sevice on total Great Lakes Ice Cover

2020 Could Set New Record Water Levels Across Great Lakes – 2020 lake levels made it a record year.

Lake Huron Water Levels Approached Historic Lows – In 2012 dry conditions were suggesting that the Great Lakes could hit record lows not seen since 1964.

Great Lakes Ice Coverage and Water Levels in 2020 – Ice coverage of the Great Lakes for the Winter of 2020-2021

Low Water Levels in Great Lakes Threatened Marinas – The low lake levels in 2012 force marinas to dredge and alter the boating season

Michigan Wind Energy Map Updated – Current and forecasted wind farm projects in Michigan

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