Great Lakes Water Levels Current and Historical Data & Graphs (October 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.

10 Highest Paying Marine Biology Jo...

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

Preliminary estimates suggest 75% of normal precipitation for the Great Lakes basin in September. All of the Great Lakes got less precipitation than usual, with Lakes Michigan-Huron and Erie getting 71% and 68% of average, respectively. Precipitation estimates for all lake basins are close to or below normal for the previous 12 months.

According to preliminary estimates, September water supplies were above normal in the Lake Superior basin but below average in the other Great Lakes basins. In September, outflows from all Great Lakes were above average.

Outflow Estimates Affecting Great Lakes Levels

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

Weather Impact

Observations as of October 7, 2022 – The air temperature has usually warmed up throughout the last week compared to the previous week. Except for the Lake Superior Basin, most Great Lakes basins were below their typical air temperature for this time of year. Since October, there has been little precipitation throughout the Great Lakes basin, with the whole basin getting an average of 5 millimeters. Temperatures are expected to be in the high fifty (°F) or low sixty (°F) and generally sunny in areas like Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Sault Ste Marie, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York throughout the holiday weekend.

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

The Great Lakes water levels dropping through year-end. The projected water level in Lake Superior on October 7th is similar to the level one month ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are all expected to be 4 to 6 inches lower than they were a month ago. The forecast October 7th level for Lake Superior is 5 inches higher than the lake’s level a year ago, but the downstream lakes are 10 to 13 inches lower. Except for Lake Ontario, which is below its long-term average, all lakes are above its long-term average October level. Water levels on Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are expected to decline by 2, 3, 5, and 10 feet during the next 30 days.

Great Lakes Hydrographs

On the hydrographs, monthly mean water levels for the prior year and the current year to date are depicted as a solid line. A dashed line represents a forecast over the following six months. This forecast is based on the current state of the lake basin and forecasted future weather. The shaded region depicts a range of probable values during the following six months based on weather changes. Current and forecast levels (solid and dashed lines) can be compared to the 1918-2021 average and extreme values (dotted lines) (shown as bars with their year of occurrence). The legend below identifies the information on the hydrographs in further detail.

Lakes Michigan-Huron Water Levels

Lakes Michigan-Huron Water Levels October 2022
Lakes Michigan-Huron Water Levels October 2022

Last June’s Observations Water Levels 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.

Current Month’s Water Levels for Lakes Michigan-Huron

On October 7th, 2022, the water level is forecasted at 579.49 feet. Lake Michigan-Huron had dropped 10 inches since October 2021 but dropped 4 inches over the past month. Levels were down 34 inches below the monthly high average record in 1986. Lake Huron remains 37 inches above the record monthly low set in 1964. The lakes are expected to drop by three inches in mid-November 2022. Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to stay above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2023. For reporting purposes, Lakes Michigan-Huron is the same body of water.

Lake Superior Water Level

Lake Superior Water Level October 2022
Lake Superior Water Level October 2022

Last June’s Observations 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.

Current Month’s Water Level For Lake Superior

As of October 7th, the Lake Superior water level is forecasted to be 602.43 feet. This is no change from measurements reported last month and five inches above the level reported in the previous year. This is 11 inches less than the high record monthly mean water level set in 1985 and 20 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1925. Over the next month, Lake Superior is expected decline by two inches. Lake Superior is expected to stay at or slightly above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2023.

Lake St. Clair Water Level

Lake St. Clair Water Levels October 2022
Lake St. Clair Water Levels October 2022

Last June’s Observations 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.

Current Month’s Water Level for Lake St. Clair

As of October 7 , 2022, Lake St. Clair’s water level is forecasted to be 575.20 feet. The lake dropped by 6 inches in the past month but is 12 inches less than reported last year. This is 25 inches less than the high record monthly mean water level set in 1986 and 41 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1934. Over the next month, Lake St. Clair is expected to decrease by 5 inches through mid-November. Lake St. Clair is expected to stay above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2023.

Lake Erie Water Level

Lake Erie Water Levels October 2022
Lake Erie Water Levels October 2022

Last June’s Observations 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.

Current Month’s Water Level for Lake Erie

As of October 7th, 2022, Lake Erie’s water level is forecasted to be 572.08 feet. This is now 5 inches less than the recorded lake level last month but 13 inches less than what was recorded in the previous year. This is 22inches less than the record high water level in 1986 and 42 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1934. Over the next month, Lake Erie is expected to decrease by 4 inches. Lake Erie is expected to stay slightly above its long-term monthly mean water level well into 2023.

Lake Ontario Water Level

Lake Ontario Water Levels October 2022
Lake Ontario Water Levels October 2022

Last June’s Observations 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.

Current Month’s Water Level for Lake Ontario

As of October 7th, 2022, Lake Ontario’s water level is forecasted to be 244.19 feet. This is six inches less than the past month and 13 inches less than measured last year. This is 31 inches less than the record-high monthly mean water level set in 1945 and 24 inches higher than the lowest record set in 1934. Over the next month, Lake Ontario will drop by 2 inches. Lake Ontario is expected to drop below its long-term monthly mean water level into 2023.


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 History Data 1919-2021

Below are the historical 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 through 1Q 2023

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

Images on this page may contain affiliate links in which we may receive a commission. See our affiliate disclosure for details.


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

Two Verb Project Banner

3 thoughts on “Great Lakes Water Levels Current and Historical Data & Graphs (October 2022 Update)”

What do you think?