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Great Lakes water levels are higher in 2020

Posted at 7:50 PM, Jan 10, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — The Great Lakes are starting out 2020 with high water levels, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

The district said the water levels on each of the Great Lakes are higher at the beginning of 2020 than what they were at the beginning of 2019, which was a year where many record-high water levels were set across the lakes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning those impacted by the high water levels of 2019 to prepare for a similar situation again in 2020.

The water levels are expected to continue to rise well above average, according to the most recent six-month forecast, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.

They said Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are expected to reach record-high levels in 2020.

“It is likely that water levels on lakes Michigan and Huron will set new monthly mean record-high levels over the next couple of months,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, Detroit District. “This sets the stage for coastal impacts and damages in 2020 similar to, or worse than, what was experienced last year.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that multiple natural factors contribute to the record-high lake levels. They said persistent wet conditions across the Great Lakes basin continue to drive high water levels.

Warmer than average temperatures in December caused greater runoff due to snow pack melting, especially on lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron, which caused more water supply, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They said warm air also caused less evaporation off of the surface of the lakes leaving more water in the system.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the water levels of each lake peaked during the past summer or fall and have since been in a seasonal decline, but the significant erosion continues as water levels still remain high. They said strong storm systems producing large waves have also contributed to the erosion.

For more information about the levels of the Great Lakes, click here.

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