Increase In Rain And Snow This Winter Helps Raise Water Levels

Posted at 6:31 PM, Mar 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-22 20:42:10-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — An increase in rain and snow this winter had positive results on West Michigan’s low water levels.

Lakes and rivers in West Michigan are returning back to normal levels this spring, following three to five years of dry conditions.

The National Weather Service reports they are all running at normal or above normal levels currently.

National Weather Services Warning Coordination’s Meteorologist Jim Maczko says, the lakeshore area got the most snow and rainfall over the past three months.

Muskegon is up more than five inches above normal as far as rainfall and is about nine inches above normal in snowfall.

Levels of snow in Grand Rapids were closer to normal levels, but Maczko says even normal amounts of precipitation are good following the previous year’s dry conditions.

Water levels in Lake Michigan are also rebounding from the record lows hit in January.

At that time, the lake had dropped below levels not seen since 1964 and 1965.

“The last three months we`ve been at or above normal precipitation, said Maczko. “It`s  really helped us to get some recovery.”

Those that rely on the water for their businesses are also excited about the rising water levels.

Ben McNeil, owner of The Wet Mitten in Grand Haven, says he’s disliked the constant snow and cold in January and February. However, he says he will love the benefit of higher lake levels this summer.

“It`s definitely better if it`s a little bit higher. If you`re surfing in really shallow water, it can be a little more dangerous,” said McNeil. “It also affects where the waves break and how far out they break so you have to adjust. Based on those types of conditions it is better.”

Although water levels are showing signs of improvement, it will take Lake Michigan awhile to rise the two feet needed to return to average levels.

Maczko also says, the above average levels of rain and snow may need to continue for quite some time to get the lake back to normal.