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Great Lakes Levels and Hydrology
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Levels & Hydrology Section: Home | Levels | Hydrology | Flows

What's New
Great Lakes levels high as spring begins
Green Bay Press-Gazette (3/21)
An early freeze this winter season helped set the stage for major ice coverage of the Great Lakes, usually a good sign that water levels will remain high for most of the year.

Durham, Northumberland lakefront communities see rapid changes in recent decades
Northumberland News (3/18)
The Great Lakes have seen a marked drop in water levels from about 1995 until 2013. Scientists are now watching closely as to what will happen next. Communities like Durham and Northumberland, Ont., faces future challenges with extreme weather and falling Lake Ontario water levels.

Researchers to study adapting to Great Lakes ups, downs
The Associated Press (3/10)
U.S. and Canadian researchers will use funding from the University of Michigan to help shoreline communities deal with changes in Great Lakes water levels.

Lake Superior levels down a bit in February
Duluth News Tribune (3/2)
A winter-long dry spell continues to bring down water levels on the upper Great Lakes, although they remain well above long-term averages.

COMMENTARY:Rising, falling lake levels teach us some harsh lessons
Lansing State Journal (2/26)
The history of the Great Lakes, like the stock market, is a series of ups and downs.

Lake-level plan lacks top-level endorsements
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (2/19)
Lake Ontario may be nearly frozen over, but fevers still run high along the shoreline as folks continue to debate the merit of changing the way the lake's water levels are regulated.

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Great Lakes Real-Time Water Level Gauging Stations

These maps were prepared in partnership with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS).

NOAA Logo - Link to NOAA Website
Coordinating Committee Logo - Link to CC Website

Lake Superior | St. Marys River | Lake Michigan | Lake Huron | St. Clair River
Lake St. Clair | Detroit River | Lake Erie | Niagara River | Lake Ontario | St. Lawrence

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Weekly Water Levels Forecast
New! Update for Friday March 20, 2015 (includes data summary)

Weather conditions: Last week was warm and dry across the majority of the Great Lakes basin. Temperatures for the week ranged from 2° to 6°F above normal in the eastern portion to over 15°F above normal in parts of the northwestern portion of the basin. As a result, a large amount of the snowpack has melted, especially in the Lake Michigan, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Erie basins where little snow now remains. Despite the warm past week, the mean temperature for March to date remained below normal across the majority of the basin. The forecast calls for 0.1 to 0.5 inches of precipitation in the northern portion of the basin and 0.5 to 1 inch of precipitation in the southern portion, with the likelihood of precipitation highest Friday through Saturday, especially in the southeastern portion of the basin. Temperatures are forecast to drop to below normal over the weekend, with highs ranging from the low thirties to the mid fifties, but return to normal or above normal temperatures by Wednesday.

Lake Level Conditions: Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 8 and 22 inches, respectively, above what they were at this time last year. Lake St. Clair is 10 inches above last year’s level. Lake Erie is at the same level of a year ago, and Lake Ontario is 6 inches below its level of a year ago. Lake Superior is predicted to rise one inch over the next 30 days, while Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to rise 3 inches. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are forecasted to rise 5, 9, and 10 inches, respectively over the next month. Ice jams remain a challenge to forecasting in the connecting channels, especially the St. Clair River. Water levels may fluctuate significantly while ice is present. See the Daily Levels page for more water level information.

Forecasted outflows / channel conditions: Lake Superior’s outflow through the St. Mary’s River is forecasted to be above average for the month of March. Lake Michigan-Huron’s outflow into the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair’s outflow into the Detroit River are predicted to be above average in March. In addition, the outflow of Lake Erie into the Niagara River and Lake Ontario’s outflow into the St. Lawrence River are predicted to be near average in March.

Alerts: Official records are based on monthly average water levels and not daily water levels. Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings. Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center's webpage.

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Related Resources
GLIN: Agencies and Organizations, Hydrology
GLIN: Current Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Levels
GLIN: Environmental Research in the Great Lakes Region
GLIN: Forecasted Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Levels
GLIN: Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Hydrology
GLIN: Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Flows
GLIN: Historical Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Levels
GLIN: Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region

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CC Data This page was created under the guidance of the binational Coordinating Committee on Great Lakes Basic Hydraulic and Hydrologic Data. This symbol is used throughout the GLIN hydrology section to indicate data or references prepared under the auspices of the Coordinating Committee.


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Updated: March 27, 2015
Maintained by: Christine Manninen, manninen@glc.org
Selected Photos: Copyright ©John and Ann Mahan
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