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GLIN==> News Release - SUMMER LAKE ERIE WATER LEVELS



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2003

CONTACT:
Fred Snyder
Ohio Sea Grant District Specialist
Ohio State University Extension
snyder.8@osu.edu
419-635-1022


SUMMER 2003 LAKE ERIE WATER LEVELS TO BE LOWER THAN LAST YEAR

Columbus, OH-- Lake Erie water levels will continue a downward trend, 
according to the January lake level forecast from the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers. "The Corps is calling for June water levels to be about 8 to 9 
inches lower than June 2002 levels, and this is similar to levels observed 
in June 2001," states Fred Snyder, District Extension Specialist for the 
Ohio Sea Grant College Program in Port Clinton.

Roughly 90 percent of Lake Erie's water is provided by inflow from the 
Detroit River, coming from the three upper Great Lakes.  Therefore, 
adequate winter precipitation in the upper Great Lakes basin is a key 
factor in maintaining Lake Erie's water level.

According to the Corps' report, precipitation in the upper Great Lakes 
Basin has been below average this winter.  December precipitation for the 
Lake Superior Basin was 67 percent lower than normal. In the Huron-Michigan 
Basin, the December precipitation rate was 57 percent lower than 
normal.  So far in the first three weeks of January, the Superior Basin has 
received only 6 percent of normal precipitation and the Huron-Michigan 
Basin received only 9 percent of normal precipitation.

Snyder adds that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
Climate Prediction Center links the unfavorable precipitation forecast to 
the now mature phase of the current El Nino condition dominating the 
tropical Pacific Ocean. The Center predicts that the remainder of the 
northern winter will see drier-than-average conditions over the Ohio Valley 
and much of the Great Lakes.  Much of the upper Great Lakes region 
currently is classified as being in moderate to severe drought, with 
drought conditions expected to intensify and expand at least through April 
2003.

Unless precipitation increases substantially over the next two months, 
which appears unlikely, Lake Erie boaters will see low water levels and 
increased boating hazards similar to those experienced in 2001. "Lake Erie 
boaters should remain aware of minimum water depths in their boating areas 
and of underwater obstructions such as reefs and shoals," cautions 
Snyder.  Also be careful while boating on days with strong westerly and 
southwesterly winds, which can temporarily lower the lake level further, 
making shallow harbors difficult to re-enter.

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