Water levels on Lake Erie and Superior achieve new May records; Michigan gets close

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jun 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-04 17:06:54-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — If you have been to Lake Michigan shoreline, you may have noticed that there isn't as much of it this year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that Lake Michigan-Huron and Lake Ontario were just four inches below the record monthly average in May. Even though new average May records were not set, Lake Michigan, Huron and Ontario are 27 inches above normal. Lake Michigan-Huron is also ten inches higher than this time last year, with Ontario at 17 inches above last year.

Lake Erie and Superior did set new average monthly records in May. Lake Erie hit its highest monthly average ever at 574.31 feet. This was three inches above the previous May record and .36 inches above the all-time record. Lake Superior sat at an average of 602.92 feet in May, about 1.2 inches above the previous May record.

Water levels on Lake Michigan and Huron are expected to peak in July, rising another 7 to 8 inches from where it is now. This will likely still fall just shy of the monthly record for June and July. Levels are then forecast to slowly recede during the fall.

Lake Superior and Erie will likely continue to set records in June. Lake Erie is then expected to come down in July and beyond, but Lake Superior will likely still hit new monthly records in July, August and September before receding.

The higher levels have been good news for shipping companies and cruise lines, which have been able to move bigger vessels through the lakes. However, it is causing problems for property owners and marinas, with flooding and shrinking beach areas.

Heavy snowfall and spring rains have contributed to the issue this spring.  In May, the Great Lakes basin received 28% more precipitation than normal.