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Great Lakes water levels are on the rise following last year's record lows

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Lake Michigan and Lake Superior water levels have risen by about a foot, following the extreme lows that were recorded last year.

The Lake Michigan-Lake Huron combination hit record low levels as late as last January. Since then a lot of precipitation have raised water levels by about 11 inches; as of last month, levels were still 17 inches below the average level for October.

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Keith Kompoltowicz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says he expects another very small rise by next April and no near-term return to record lows.

"We're expecting to remain about 16 inches below long-term average, but again about a foot above the levels of a year ago," says Kompoltowicz. "Even with very dry conditions we don't see the threat of any new record lows on Michigan or Huron over the next six months."

Kompoltowicz says that last month, Lake Superior was two inches below average for the month, but 13 inches above a year ago - about what is expected for the next six months. He says that projection is based on weather projections and other data: "Looks from other agencies that do some of the longer-term climate projections."

"We also do our own statistical analyses on what we call the net basin supply of water to the lake," he adds.

Kompoltowicz says the forecast could change rapidly, and that November has been very wet across the Lake Superior basin. Federal scientists say long- term water levels could also be affected by whether higher evaporation rates of recent years continue.

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