Great Lakes Water Levels

2020 Great Lakes Water Levels – May

Updated May 13th. The Army Corps of Engineers – Detroit District is noting that as of May 12th, 2020, that Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie set new monthly mean water level records for April 2020, which were previously set in 1985 or 1986. All of the lakes are either in their period of seasonal rise or are reaching their peak. These levels project to make 2020 a record year.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are still projected to peak above last year’s levels after a marginal seasonal decline this fall and winter. While it is extremely unlikely that water levels on Lake Ontario will approach the record high levels from last year, the other lakes are still projected to peak near last year’s record levels.

February was a fairly dry month throughout the Great Lakes basin. Well, below-average precipitation occurred in each of the lake basins with Lake Superior receiving just 40% of average precipitation during the month. April brought heavy rainfall to some areas, however, the month as a whole was quite dry for the Great Lakes region. During the spring, water levels typically rise on the Great Lakes due to increased rainfall and runoff. In the coming months, water levels are projected to continue to be near or above the record high water levels on all of the lakes, except Lake Ontario. Significant erosion and flooding continue in many locations as water levels remain extremely high.

Great Lakes Water Levels

Current Projections

As of May 2020

On May 8th, Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are projected to be 9, 3, and 1 inch, respectively, above their levels of a year ago while Lakes Superior and Ontario water levels are expected to be 3 and 6 inches below their respective levels of a year ago. Also, the May 8th forecasted water levels for Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Ontario are 2 to 4 inches above what they were a month ago, while Lake Erie is near the level it was a month ago. Moreover, the forecasted daily levels for May 8th for Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are both 3 inches above their record high May monthly mean levels, while Lake Erie’s level matches its May record high. In a month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to be 2 to 3 inches above their projected May 8th levels, while Lake St. Clair’s level will likely match its May 8th level. However, Lakes Erie and Ontario are forecasted to be an inch below their May 8th levels.

Great Lakes Water Levels

Great Lake Outflows

As of May 2020

Lake Superior’s outflow into the St. Marys River is forecasted to be above average this month. Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow into the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair’s outflow through the Detroit River are predicted to be above average for May. In addition, Lake Erie’s outflow into the Niagara River and Lake Ontario’s outflow into the St. Lawrence River are projected to be above average for May. Lake Superior rose 2 inches from March to April, while Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair both rose 3 inches. Lakes Erie and Ontario also rose by 4 and 6 inches, respectively, from March to April.

Daily Great Lakes Water Levels

The report below is a view of long-term, basin-scale hydrological data for the Laurentian Great Lakes. Water levels are continuously observed by U.S. and Canadian federal agencies in the region through binational cooperation. NOAA-GLERL relies on this water level data to conduct research on components of the regional water budget and to improve predictive models.

Water level monitoring stations are operated by NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Canadian Hydrographic Service. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo) and Environment and Climate Change Canada play crucial roles in research, coordination of data and operational seasonal water level forecasts for the basin.

Michigan Wind Farms

Wind Turbines

Michigan Windfarm Map – Comprehensive map of wind farm projects. Including those planned, under construction or canceled. Data also included decommissioned wind farm projects. Updated as new information is available.

Michigan Windfarm Accidents – A historical record and map of indents occurring on wind and solar energy industrial sites. Incidents include those involving transport of materials to wind farm projects. Updated as information is available.

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