Low water levels on the Great Lakes are a thing of the past

I got an email blurb the other day announcing a hydrologist working for the U.S. Government's NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced the era of low Great Lakes water levels is over.

Shut the door, close the book, the science is settled. We be good!  What a hoot.

No doubt this same scientist two years ago was predicting the record low water levels would occur in October of 2012 until the remnants of Hurricane Sandy dumped her leftovers to the tune of six inches of rain over much of the upper Great Lakes watershed. That delayed the record low from occurring until February of 2013. At the time, NOAA computer models, buoyed by the drought of 2013 were showing the lakes continuing to drop lower and lower on into the future.

Then in the fall of 2013 something strange happened. Not strange, just unexpected. The climate over the Great Lakes shifted from hot and dry to wet and cold. Fall rains fell. An exceedingly cold winter virtually froze over the Great Lakes completely, something that hadn't happened in 20 years.  Bountiful snow fell. Michiganders and others in the Great Lakes region suffered through a late spring.

There was ample precipitation all summer, if you could call it a summer at all.

The lake waters in Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron stayed colder than normal. Many people didn’t run their air conditioners all summer long.

All of this tells me there are very few years that are “average.” Wet years balance out with dry years. Cold winters balance out with mild winters. And in my mind, the water in the upper Great Lakes will continue to fluctuate.

But what do I know? I'm not a government scientist, able to look at data from a short period of time and pronounce the Great Lakes, low water level problems are at an end. For how long?

My prediction is the problem is solved “for now” and will last until the normal wiggles in the upper Midwestern weather changes.

That may come next summer or 10 years from now.

Categories: Blog Content, MicBlogs, Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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