Great Lakes experience record high water levels for May

Published: Jun. 3, 2019 at 5:44 PM EDT
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(6/3/2019) - Water has been plaguing Michigan in various forms for months.

Snow, sleet, and torrential rains seem to have been relentlessly pummeling parts of the state at any given time.

Now, every single Great Lake has water levels that are at their highest ever recorded in the month of May. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, that level could rise a few more inches through June.

The Lake Michigan-Lake Huron basin is now 1 inch above the May record with Lake Superior an Ontario both 3 inches higher. Lake Erie is really the winner, though, coming in at 6 inches above the highest level ever recorded.

The numbers that really have a profound impact are just how quickly the lakes rose in the last few weeks and the departure from average.

Since May 1, Lake Michigan-Huron has risen nine inches and Lake Ontario is up a whopping 18 inches. Lake Superior has seen a rise of 5 inches and Lake Erie is up 6 inches.

The departure from the long-term average for May is truly impressive as well. Lake Michigan-Huron and Lake Erie are 32 inches above that average with Lake Superior coming in at 18 inches above.

Once again, Lake Ontario impresses the most with a water level 34 inches above the long-term May average.

Why is this happening? Heavy precipitation and heavy flows into the Great Lakes have been a direct contributor over recent months. Many areas have seen precipitation 25 to 50 percent above normal after a wet and snowy winter.

If the above average precipitation continues into the summer the lake levels could continue to rise even further.

High lake levels bring a number of issues to our state and surrounding areas. High erosion along the shoreline, property damage and numerous rounds of flooding from highs winds blowing already high waters onshore.

Expect a very interesting summer since we are in uncharted waters this season.

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