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Great Lakes Water Levels Come Down, But Still High


Great Lake water levels in 2021 are tracking below last year's levels.

Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie remain well above long-term average levels.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers keeps watch on water levels in the Great Lakes.

Since November 2020, the Great Lakes basin experienced four consecutive months of below average precipitation.

This combined with a cold air outbreak during February led to increased evaporation across the lakes.

"Drier conditions this winter aided in seasonal declines on all the lakes," said Detroit District Watershed Hydrology Branch Chief Chris Warren. "However, as water levels begin their seasonal rise there is still potential for coastal impacts since water levels remain high."

Late winter and early spring are typical Great Lakes seasonal rise periods because of increased rainfall and runoff.

Water levels typically peak in the summer or early fall.

Even with lower lake levels some lakes are still well above average and coastal flooding and shoreline erosion are possible, especially during periods of active weather and increased wave action.

The most recent six-month forecast of Great Lakes water levels predicts levels to remain below record high levels.

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