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Environment & Climate Change

Water levels on lakes Michigan and Huron expected to peak just below all-time record

lake michigan coastline
Dustin Dwyer
/
Michigan Radio
Property owners on Lake Michigan have been trying to protect against erosion from high water levels since last year.

Lakes Michigan and Huron have been at record levels for each month so far this year. But water levels are expected to decline before they reach the all-time high water mark.

Great Lakes water levels fluctuate throughout the year, so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tracks records for each month.

“So far in 2020, the first six months of the year, each of those monthly mean water levels were a record high based on our period of record that goes back to 1918,” says Deanna Apps, physical scientist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

But the all-time highest recording happened in October of 1986, when the two lakes reached 582.35 feet, according to records from the Army Corps of Engineers. The current level on Lakes Michigan and Huron is about 2 inches below that record, and that may be as high as they get this year.

“Lake Michigan-Huron typically reaches its peak seasonal level, or monthly mean level in July,” Apps says. “So we’re at the point where we’re likely around our peak and should begin our gradual seasonal decline here soon, barring any major precipitation events," Apps said.

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