Record water levels in the Great Lakes could be on the horizon

Lake Huron (Bob Montgomery photo)

Water levels in the Great Lakes are expected to be above normal this spring and summer with some lakes possibly breaking records.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is predicting Lake Superior and Lake Erie could reach record-breaking high water levels by the end of May. The latest six-month forecast for the Great Lakes also predicts Lakes Huron and Lake Michigan are expected to be above normal but no records are expected to fall at those two lakes. These projections are based on the present condition of the lake basin and anticipated future weather.

The Corps of Engineers said Lake Erie could rise by another 14 inches by mid-May to break a 1986 record. As well, Lake Superior could rise by eight inches by late May to break record levels in 1986. Lake St. Clair may be close to the 1986 record at the end of May but is expected to fall just short. No prediction was made for Lake Ontario, where water levels are controlled.

All of the lakes but Lake Superior are above their levels from last year at this time. Lake Erie is seven inches higher than last February and will rise by another inch in 30 days. Lake St. Clair is 11 inches higher compared to the same time last year and will rise by another four inches in a month.

Levels in some of the lakes were at record lows six years ago.

Higher water means less beach area but deeper channels for commercial shipping.