Lake Michigan water levels now about a foot below 2020

The seasonal uptick begins this month
Lake Michigan
Posted at 6:45 AM, Apr 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-03 06:45:10-04

LAKE MICHIGAN — While it remains an important topic for those living along Lake Michigan, the conversation about water levels has subsided a bit thanks to a lackluster winter season.

While this was good news after several records were broken in 2020, we must still keep a close eye on the levels as we are now getting into the seasonal rise and the rainier season.

The below normal winter precipitation helped to lower stress levels a bit for the FOX17 Meteorologists, but also those that live along Lake Michigan. This, combine with the typical seasonal low for water levels on Lake Michigan, have brought the levels down about a foot compared to this time last year.

Lake Michigan Water Level

Last March, we had a record high level of 581.43 feet. We are now sitting at 580.69 feet. While it is a step in the right direction, we are still about 2.21 feet above March's average level.

As we head into April, lake levels will begin to rise again as we get heavier spring rains and snow to our north continues to melt and pour into the lakes. There are a few key factors we will have to see over the next several months to continue our positive trend down towards average.

"As we go forward in time, in these drier conditions persist, hopefully we will see not as high of peaks as we did last year." said Deanna Apps, Physical Scientist with the Army Corp of Engineers. "A lot of that is still determined by what mother nature brings us over the next six months." As we head away from a La Nina pattern this spring, the forecast is for precipitation to be at or even above normal. Time will tell as to if the shakes out from April-June. If this happens, it would delay our trend down to average. According to Deanna, it takes several months to years of persistent wet or dry conditions for these water levels to move significantly in one direction or the other.

Lake Michigan water level forecast

If you would like to stay up to date on the lake levels and the forecast, head to the Army Corp of Engineers website.