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Great Lakes water levels down significantly from from April 2020, still above average levels

Posted at 6:58 AM, May 11, 2021

(WXYZ) — Water levels in almost all of the Great Lakes are down significantly from last year and their record highs, but are still above average with an above-average forecast.

On Monday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided an update and forecast for Great Lakes water levels.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, water levels in all of the Great Lakes are down compared to this time last year, but four of the five still have above-average water levels.

Normally, according to the corps, the lake levels are down in the winter, there's a rise in the spring, they peak in the summer and begin lowering in fall.

The Great Lakes are generally influenced by mother nature, and 2019 was the wettest year on record, with precipitation down in the Great Lakes basin.

Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, was 6 inches lower in April 2021 than in April 2020. When looking at the next six months, it's predicted that Lake Superior will be 2-4 inches below last year's water levels.

Lakes Michigan and Huron share the same body of water, and they have likely reached their seasonal low and will begin to rise, according to the corps.

Levels for both lakes in April 2021 were 14 inches below the levels seen in April 2020. It was the largest drop from one April to another since 1998-99, according to the corps. Over the next six months, levels are forecast to be 16-24 inches below record-high levels, but still remain 17-19 inches above the average levels.

In Lake Erie, April 2021 levels were 17 inches below April 2020, and its forecast to be 15-21 inches below record-high levels over the next 6 months, but remain 12-13 inches above the average levels.

Lake Ontario saw the largest drop. It was 28 inches below April 2020 levels this year, and it's forecast to be 6-28 inches below last year's levels over the next six months, which is also 3-12 inches below the average levels. The biggest concern for Lake Ontario is that dry conditions continue, and there might be low-water concerns instead of high-water concerns.

Lake St. Clair, which is not a Great Lake, was 15 inches below levels in April 2020, and forecast to be 16-22 inches below record-high levels. But, the lake will likely remain 15-16 inches above the average level.