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Lake Superior hits normal water level for first time in 9 years

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Duluth News Tribune

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DULUTH -- Lake Superior hit its normal level in February for the first time in nine years, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The big lake dropped just 0.4 of an inch in February, a month it usually declines about 2 inches, bringing the lake level in line with its long-term average for March 1.

Lake Superior now sits 13 inches above the level of March 1, 2013, and appears to be continuing an upward trend that started about a year ago. The lake has now pulled far away from its lowest points, when it hit monthly record lows in August and September 2007.

The last time the lake’s water level was at or above normal was April 2005, said Cynthia Jarema of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

Meanwhile, the level of Lakes Huron and Michigan dropped 0.4 inches in February, a month when it usually stays the same. Those lakes remain about 13 inches below their long-term normal level, but 13 inches above their March 1, 2013, level.

The lake levels are important for shipping interests, as lower water levels can force Great Lakes freighters to lighten their loads, requiring more trips and higher costs to haul cargo such as taconite and coal.

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