Experts predict record-breaking levels this summer as the Great Lakes continue to rise as two of the lakes and Lake St. Clair set new monthly records in May.
Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie broke monthly water level records in May that were previously set in 1986, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials said. Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair smashed the all-time high marks by 4 inches, while Lake Erie bested its record by one inch. The same lakes set monthly records in April.
The latest projections from the Corps' Detroit District show that Lake Michigan-Huron and all the other lakes will experience increases in water levels in June and July, with a few tapering off while Michigan-Huron climbs through September. The estimates indicate waterfront property owners may get a break in the late summer and early fall.
The rising lake levels have posed problems for some Michigan marinas and have threatened the loss of lake-front property during the past year or so. The high lake levels have led to higher water levels in connecting inland rivers and streams.
Property owners could continue to combat bluff and shoreline erosion, damage to coastal infrastructure and potential flooding. The rising lake levels have presented long-term challenges for a region that has faced swings of the lakes' extreme highs and lows.
All of the lakes experienced a rise in water levels from April to May. Lake Superior rose an inch, while Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair both rose 3 inches. Erie and Ontario rose 1 and 2 inches, respectively.
The rise continues despite data showing precipitation in the Great Lakes basin was below average last month and April.
During the spring, water levels tend to climb on the Great Lakes given the influx of rainfall and runoff.
Corps officials said precipitation was below average on Lakes Superior and Ontario by approximately 50% and 30%, respectively, while precipitation on Lakes Michigan-Huron and Erie was more than 10% above average.
All of the lakes are either in their period of seasonal rise or are reaching their peak.
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