Great Lakes Experiencing Dangerously High Water Levels
Posted on: May 6, 2019
Water levels in all five Great Lakes are above monthly averages this month. (Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District)

High Water Levels Impacting All 5 Great Lakes

According to a report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and a news release from the International Lake Superior Board of Control (ILSBC) water levels in each of the Great Lakes were higher than their monthly averages on May 3rd. Above average precipitation during April is responsible for these high water levels and further precipitation is expected in the coming weeks. High water levels coupled with storm activity have the potential to create major erosion issues for Great Lakes coastal properties and the ILSBC warns those affected to prepare for coastal impacts. The Government of Canada LevelNews report warned of the potential for dangerously high water levels as early as February 2019.

Outflow levels from each of the great lakes into their respective major tributaries are also predicted to be above their monthly average this May. The ILSBC has requested permission from the International Joint Commission (IJC) to deviate from Lake Superior Regulation Plan 2012 and increase outflow from Lake Superior into the St Mary’s Rapids. According to the International Lake Ontario-St Lawrence River Board, high Lake Ontario outflows continue in accordance with Plan 2014 in response to flooding that occurred in 2017. The outflow has been increased but this has a very minor effect on overall lake levels, and with more precipitation on the way flooding in the Lake Ontario and St Lawrence system will only be getting worse.

Water Levels Resource Links:

Government of Canada – Great Lakes Water Levels and Related Data

Government of Ontario – Flood Forecasting and Warning Program

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Great Lakes Information

International Joint Commission Boards, Studies and Committee

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board

International Lake Superior Board of Control

International Niagara Board of Control

In the News

The Weather Network – Lake Ontario level expected to surpass 2017’s record

Windsor Star – City prepares for potential flooding from record lake and river water levels

The Times Herald – Lake Huron-Michigan water levels above average predicted rise

St Thomas Times Journal – Lake Erie average water level hits all time high

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