Great Lakes Water Levels, Ice Extent and Great Lakes News

Bill’s Blog

Posted: Apr 18, 2020 / 09:35 AM EDT Updated: Apr 19, 2020 / 03:04 AM EDT

The pic. above from GLERL is the Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse (Lake Huron) with a ship passing by. The Great Lakes remain at or near record high levels.

Lake Superior Water Level Graph

The Water Level of Lake Superior rose 3″ in the last month (snow is melting) and is now 1″ higher than one year ago. The level is 15″ higher than the average April water level and 2″ below the record April high water level set in 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Michigan/Huron

The water level of Lake MichiganHuron rose 1″ in the last week, 4″ in the last month and is now 14″ higher than one year ago. The lake is 37″ above the April average level and 67″ above the lowest recent water level of 1964. The lake is 4″ higher than the previous record high level set in April 1986.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake Erie

The water level of Lake Erie has gone up 6″ in the last month and 11″ in the last year. It’s also 37″ above the average April level and is now 4″ higher than the previous April average level.

Graph of Lake Ontario Water Level

The water level of Lake ONtario is up 6″ in the last month and up 9″ in the last year. The lake is 18″ higher than the April average, but 12″ below the record water level of 1935.

Graph of the Water Level of Lake St. Clair

The water level of Lake St. Clair is up 3″ in the last month and up 10″ year-to-year. It’s 34″ higher than the April average level and 4″ above the previous April record level, set in 1986.

St. Mary’s River seen from space in summer

All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes continue to have well above average flow (pic. above is the St. Mary’s River, that connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron (Michigan). The St. Mary’s River currently has a flow of 90,900 cfs (no average available). The St. Clair River at Port Huron has a flow of 254,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 184,000 cfs. The Detroit River at Detroit has a flow of 266 cfs, compared to an average flow of 192,000 cfs.

Saturday 4 18 20 pic. of the Black River emptying into Lake Michigan

The pic. above is the Black River emptying into Lake Michigan at South Haven, Michigan. Note the water coming out of the river is darker than the water of Lake Michigan. The wind is south – moving from left to right in the picture. So, the river water is flowing around the breakwater to the north. There are Gale Warnings out for Lake Michigan today (Sat.).

Great Lakes rivers are a mix – with some having above average flow and some below average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a flow of 5,670 cfs, compared to an average flow of 6,020 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton has an average flow of 2,070 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,040 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 1,430 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,220 cfs. The St. Joseph River at Niles has a flow of 5,300 cfs, which is exactly the April average.

In Wisconsin, rivers are higher. The Fox River at Green Bay has a flow of 18,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 6,170 cfs and the Menominee River at Mc Alister has a flow of 8,490 cfs, compared to an average flow of 5,970 cfs.

Great Lakes Ice Extent for Fri. April 17

Ice cover was below average on the Great Lakes this winter. Currently the lakes combined have just a 0.4% ice cover with a touch left in the North Channel of Lake Huron and in a couple of the bays of northwest Lake Superior.

Port Sheldon Buoy Sat. AM 4 18 20

This is the Port Sheldon Buoy looking east Sat. AM – note the dunes right above the horizon on the left. The water temp. here at the buoy this AM was just 40.8. At the shore at Holland St. Park, the water temp. was 44.6. The South Haven buoy has a water temp. of 46.6. Inland, Reeds Lake in East Gr. Rapids has a water temp. of 47 this morning.

Chicago – Sat. AM 4 18 20

This is downtown Chicago this Sat. AM from the Harrison-Dever water intake which is just shy of 3 miles out into the lake. It’s a bright, clear morning with Chicago heading toward the mid-upper 50s with a brisk southwest wind.

GREAT LAKES NEWS: Shipwrecks visible in Lake Michigan from space. More on water levels. Portion of Lake Michigan trail collapses. Sandbags handed out. 500 Great Lakes Navy recruits staying at the Great Wolf Lodge (water slides off limits). COVID-19 disrupts Great Lakes research. Barge stuck for 3 days in Lake St. Clair. The barge held nearly 4 million gallons of diesel fuel. Could sewage hold the secrets to coronavirus numbers?? High winds damage shoreline. Grand Haven to remove old wells. Beach Street at Muskegon’s Pere Marquette reopens to traffic after 6-month closure. The date of the first crossing of Lake Michigan by the Ludington-Manitowoc Ferry will be May 29 instead of May 8. Haunting pics. of Great Lakes shipwrecks. “Monster waves” on Lake Erie. Apostle Islands closed until June 20. Invasive species. Great Lakes ships deal with COVID-19. Invasive carp found in Lower Michigan river. Will the COVID-19 virus affect fishing in the Great Lakes? Time-lapse of ship going thru the Soo Locks. Stopping sewage overflows. Video of the first “Saltie” arrivings (from the Marshall Islands. Record Lake Erie walleye run. Seeing algal blooms from space. Cool freighter photos. Isle Royale N.P. delays opening day until at least June 15. Last 50 Lake Superior caribou. Free virtual programs. Update on “FishPass” and the Boardman River in Traverse City.