Lake Michigan is nearing record low mean water levels according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Their latest "Monthly Bulletin of Lake Levels for the Great Lakes" plotted the mean monthly water level for the Lakes Michigan-Huron basin (they are considered one lake body connected at the Straits of Mackinaw) for the month of October to be 576.57 feet, or 0.13 feet (about 1.56 inches) above the record low monthly mean level of 576.44 feet set in October of 1964.
The current monthly mean level is 28 inches below the long-term average (1918-2011) of 578.87 feet for the month of October. It is also a little over one foot (1.12 feet) below the monthly mean of October 2011 of 577.69 feet.
October Mean Lake Levels
Lakes Michigan-Huron Basin
October Maximum (1986)
October Minimum (1964)
October Average (1918-2011)
This low water level was in spite of above-normal precipitation over the basin during October 2012. The Michigan-Huron basin received an average of 4.25 inches of precipitation (148% of average) during the month, which is 1.38 inches above the 1900-2008 average of 2.87 inches. However, the precipitation for the previous 12 months was 30.41 inches (94% of average), or 2.03 inches below the normal of 32.44 inches.
OCTOBER PRECIPITATION (INCHES)
% OF AVERAGE
12-MONTH COMPARISON (INCHES)
LAST 12 MONTHS
% OF AVERAGE
The forecast mean water level is expected to remain near-record lows for November 2012 through April 2013 per the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projection for the next six months (See graph below).
For more information about Great Lakes water levels from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, go to: www.lre.usace.army.mil/glhh.