Lakes St. Clair, Erie set new water level monthly records
Detroit — Lakes St. Clair and Erie set new record high monthly average water levels in August while Lake Superior tied its record high for the month, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Water levels in lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario were slightly below record highs, but remain high compared with their average.
The report, released Thursday, shows that this summer's trend of high water levels in the Great Lakes continues. In June, the water levels for lakes Erie, Ontario and St. Clair were the highest for any month since 1918, the year the Army Corp began keeping records for Great Lakes water levels.
Army Corps officials said the data could mean high water levels in the lakes during the fall and early winter.
The following show August's average water level in the lakes, their record maximum levels and the year it was reached:
Superior: 603.21 feet; 603.22 feet (1952)
Michigan-Huron: 581.77 feet; 581.99 feet (1986)
St. Clair: 577.30 feet; 577.10 feet (1986)
Erie: 574.21 feet; 573.95 feet (1986)
Ontario: 247.81 feet; 247.97 (1947)
The Army Corps' Detroit District data means the high levels persisted despite most of the Great Lakes basin getting below average precipitation during August. The Army Corps monitors Great Lakes water levels and provides data and analysis.
Overall, the Great Lakes received about 2.39 inches of rain in August, about three-quarters of an inch less than the average for the month, according to the Army Corps. The only lake to see an increase in precipitation, Erie, received about 0.09 inches, according to the data.
The trending high water levels could affect coastlines during upcoming storm seasons, the Army Corps said.
"The fall and early winter often bring significant storm systems to the Great Lakes,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of Watershed Hydrology at the Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit District, in a statement. “These systems have the potential to bring tremendous impacts to the coastlines including more erosion and coastal flooding, even with the declining lake levels. Those with interests along the shoreline should be prepared for these events.”