Lake Michigan breaks 34-year-old high water record

Kent Tempus
High water levels in Lake Michigan have eroded the shoreline and closed one of the beaches at Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wis.

All but one of the Great Lakes have likely reached their peak for the year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lakes Michigan-Huron set another new monthly mean record high water level in July, and the Corps’ most recent forecast projects that Lake Michigan-Huron will likely set another new record high monthly mean water level in August, before it drops back beneath record highs in September.

The mean, which is compiled from readings at six locations, is 582.20 feet — 0.02 feet from June and 0.21 feet from the previous record of 581.99 in 1986.

The long-term average for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron — which are listed together because the levels on each body move together — is 579.36 feet.

The record low for July was 576.71 in 1964.

The water level of Lake Superior is expected to peak next month before entering its period of typical seasonal decline. Lakes Erie, Ontario and St. Clair all continued to decline last month, with no new records set on those lakes in July.

“While we expect water levels to decline across most of the Great Lakes, levels still remain extremely high,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office.

Coastlines on Green Bay and Lake Michigan have suffered flooding and, when blasted by storms from the east, significant erosion.

With the continued high water on many of the lakes, and the approaching active fall storm period, the Corps urges property owners affected by high water levels last fall to prepare for similar or worse impacts