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Great Lakes basin caps wettest 5 years ever with rainy October

Detroit News staff and wire reports

A new forecast says Great Lakes levels are likely to remain unusually high and may set additional records after a record-setting year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Detroit on Monday released its outlook for the next six months.

Killarney Beach resident Julie Schultz of Bangor Township said her beachfront is three times smaller than when she and her family moved here years ago due to the rising water level in Saginaw Bay.

Hydrologist Keith Kompoltowicz says a wet October interrupted the usual fall drop-off of water levels. The Corps said the Great Lakes Basin saw its wettest 60-month period ending Aug. 31 in 120 years of record-keeping.

The corps' monthly bulletin showed that the average levels for Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, St. Clair and Ontario in October all were about a foot higher than the same month in 2018.

Storms over Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior caused beach erosion, flooding and damage to seawalls and roads.

This sticker was displayed on the window of Killarney Beach resident Julie Schultz of Bangor Township.

All five Great Lakes are expected to resume their seasonal decline, Kompoltowicz said. But they’ll remain well above normal and will be higher in January than they were at the beginning of this year, which set a record for high lake levels.

Huron and Michigan are likely to set monthly records in February, while Superior will come close, he said.

A lengthy dry spell, Kompoltowicz said, would be required to reverse the trend.

In recent months, Lakes Superior, St. Clair and Erie have set or tied record high monthly average water levels.