Low Great Lakes water levels ‘bad news’ for shipping communitiesFederal officials say water levels may be up a bit in the Great Lakes this year, but still well below normal.
By: By Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Federal officials say water levels may be up a bit in the Great Lakes this year, but still well below normal.
Water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron hit record lows in January, and levels have been down in Lake Superior, too. But Keith Kompoltowicz of the Army Corps of Engineers says levels are up a bit in the last few weeks and may be rising more soon.
“Since January 2013 the level of Lake Michigan and Huron has risen about two inches, as the lake has begun its seasonal rise,” Kompoltowicz said. “Our latest six-month forecast, just completed, shows the potential for another nine to twelve inches of water level rise in Lake Michigan and Huron by the late summer, which is more of a typical seasonal rise.”
But John Allis of the Corps of Engineers says by and large, Great Lakes water levels will remain below normal. He says that is bad news for many people.
“For shipping communities [and] people that need higher water, I guess this is continued bad news, because especially on Lake Michigan and Huron water levels remain well below average,” Allis said. “Michigan and Huron are over two feet below average, and only two to four inches above record lows. But whereas December and January there weren’t a lot of people on the water noticing it, we’re heading into a time where people are really going to start noticing this.”
The debate continues whether too much water is draining out of Lake Huron through the Saint Clair River near Detroit. But the Corps of Engineers offered no new data on that issue. More dredging is expected at some commercial ports around the great lakes, to help ships continue to get in and out of harbors.