Based on preliminary data, new record high monthly mean water levels were set on Lakes Erie, St. Clair and Superior in the month of May, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District. Additionally, record high water levels are possible on all the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair this summer.
Persistent wet conditions across the Great Lakes basin this spring has fueled the recent rises. Precipitation in May was 21% higher than average over the Great Lakes basin as a whole, and contributed to extremely high water supplies to the lakes. The new record May levels are between one and three inches higher than the previous records for the month set in 1986.
"As we expected, record highs were set in May on a few of our Great Lakes, and our June forecast shows additional record highs likely this summer," Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of Watershed Hydrology, Detroit District, said in a news release.
The Great Lakes region will continue to see the threat of coastal flooding and shoreline erosion especially during storm events. Localized water levels are often impacted by winds and can be significantly higher during storms. Water levels and flow rates in the connecting channels of the Great Lakes are also high and may, depending on winds and other atmospheric conditions, lead to localized flooding.