Each year our Great Lakes change their water levels either up or down marginally due to rain and snowfall throughout the year. The forecast looks to be a record year for high water in at least two different Great Lakes. Lake superior’s previous high water mark occurred in the mid-’80s but this could be the year the water crests above that mark. The lake was only 2 inches away from the record in February so any month now could break the record. 2 inches of water on the worlds largest lake by surface area is over 1.1 trillion gallons of extra water! The other lake that could crest over its previous record is Lake Erie. No record for Lake Ontario is available at this time however the lake was very low compared to the other lakes but has since recovered.
Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and Lake St. Claire are already above normal levels but are not predicted to break any records this year. What is surprising is that we got below the normal amount of rain as we are supposed to the in the upper great lakes area and yet water levels are still up. This is important for people to experience erosion along their beach fronts or sand dunes. Beaches will be skinnier this year so time to get comfortable with being closer to fellow beachgoers. This high water is only going to bring the lake even closer and cause more damage. If you have stairs going down a dune and they are washing away at the bottom it is time to reinforce them and get ready for the fact that they may have to be moved further back.
A silver lining of the higher water levels is the all the various shipping vessels will not have to worry about scraping bottoms in shallow areas as easily as a normal year. Shipping is often difficult in some areas of the great lakes where ships must take great care not to hit the bottom. That extra few inches can make all the difference in an easy transition from deep to shallower water.