snow brings up Great Lakes water levels
The Associated Press
The rush of snowmelt and rain filling up area rivers
and streams is adding inches to Lake Michigan water levels,
The heavy, wet snow in January, February and March contained
a larger proportion of water, compared with the fluffy,
lake-effect snows of 2003.
Readings as of March 26 were 7 inches above last year's
average levels for March, according to the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers. But the lake remains 17 inches below its
long-term monthly average.
The lake's level should rise an additional 4-5 inches
in the next month, but it's not expected to get much higher
than that. Officials predict that Lake Michigan's level
will be up 5 inches this summer compared to 2003, when
levels were close to uncharted record lows.
Snow-water equivalents this year are 40 percent above
average, said Tim Calappi, a physical scientist with the
"It's certainly been a wet winter," he told
the Daily News for a recent story. "There's a lot
more runoff as compared to last year."
In May 2003, snow water equivalent levels were 50 to
75 percent of 2002 figures, according to James LaRosa,
hydrology program manager with National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration/National Weather Service in Marquette.
All of the Great Lakes are into their seasonal rise.
Lake Michigan usually peaks in July, then drops substantially
in the fall.
The Delta County Sheriff's Department operates a marine
unit during the summer.
Undersheriff Ed Oswald said recreational boaters need
to check water data before heading out, and to be alert
for sandbars and other rough spots.
The lakes were at their maximum depths in 1986, based
on data dating back to 1918.
For all-time lows, 1964 remains the record-grabber for
Lake Michigan. Compared to March of that year, the lake
is up 13 inches.
Researchers believe the lakes are simply at the low end
of a repeating water level cycle. Lake level cycles run
at a rate of about 30 years.