Lake Michigan water levels still above normal after wet August

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – Daylight continues to decrease rapidly as autumn creeps closer and closer. June, July, and August all finished with above-average precipitation in Northeast Wisconsin. How did this precipitation impact lake levels?

Lake levels were at record levels this time last year in 2020. Since then, we have seen a decline. Pictured below are the current water levels in feet for all the Great Lakes. Every single one of them is down at least a half-foot from August 2020.

So, what’s the reason for the decline? 2018, 2019, and 2020 were fairly wet years in the record books for the Midwest which brought those record-high lake levels last year.

In 2021, Northeast Wisconsin and much of the Midwest fell well below normal in terms of snowfall to start the year, followed by a drier spring. Meteorological summer ended up finishing above-average precipitation, largely thanks to the 2nd wettest August on record in Northeast Wisconsin.

Although we are below last years’ water levels, Lake Michigan is still over our 30-year average. The Lake Michigan system itself stands at 580.77 feet and that’s over one foot above average. In the chart below, Lake Michigan was closer to normal in the month of June before the rainfall.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is projecting lake levels to further decrease in the month of September. You can find the latest Lake Michigan water levels and forecast projections by clicking here.

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