Great Lakes water levels up from historical average
Snowmelt and recent rain have brought Great Lakes water levels up. This spring rise is normal - and water levels are projected to increase even more this month.
Water levels for the Great Lakes are still lower than their record high from a couple of years ago. But all the lakes are up from their long-term average, by between six and 13 inches, as of May 5.
Keith Kompoltowicz is the chief of the Detroit District Watershed Hydrology Section at the US Army Corps of Engineers. He said lake levels are determined by weather conditions, and their fluctuation is a natural phenomenon.
“All of the lakes are above the long-term average - whether that's a good or a bad thing depends on the user," Kompoltowicz said. "Everybody's got their ideal water level.”
Kompoltowicz said the Corps is keeping an eye on Lake Superior, which could reach a new record high this summer.
Lake Superior, Michigan, and Huron are projected to rise by another three inches in the next month.
“As the level started to rise above that long-term average [a couple of years ago], we started to hear more instances of that coastal damage," Kompoltowicz said. "If levels were to turn around and start falling below average, we would likely start hearing issues with access to certain harbors.”
Depending on the lake, levels typically peak sometime between June and August.