Three Great Lakes set new records for January water levels
Two Great Lakes set a new all-time high-water mark for January, and officials expect more records to be set this spring and summer.
Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are measured as one body of water, saw highs for the month of January that eclipsed marks set in 1987. Lake Superior surpassed a high set in 1986, the Army Corps of Engineers office in Detroit said.
And Lake St. Clair tied its record level high for January set in 1986.
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Corps officials predict that, much like last year, water levels will continue to rise.
"It is likely that water levels on lakes Michigan and Huron will set new monthly mean record-high levels over the next six months," said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office in Detroit "This sets the stage for coastal impacts and damages in 2020 similar to, or worse than, what was experienced last year."
Water levels on lakes Erie and Superior had set records for four months straight going into the fall. Lake St. Clair also set all-time highs for several consecutive months.
The Corps has been emphasizing higher lake levels to be better prepared given record-breaking levels in 2019. The six-month forecast for Great Lakes water levels shows that they will continue to come close, and likely exceed, levels from 2019.
Increased wet conditions across the Great Lakes basin are spurring the rise in lake levels and, with warmer-than-average temperatures last December, there was greater runoff due to snowpack melting on Lake Superior, Corps officials said.