Great Lakes water levels at record highs

Published June 4, 2019

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces that based on preliminary data, new record high monthly mean water levels were set on Lakes Erie, St. Clair and Superior in the month of May. Additionally, record high water levels are possible on all the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair this summer.

Persistent wet conditions across the Great Lakes basin this spring has fueled the recent rises.  Precipitation in May was 21% higher than average over the Great Lakes basin as a whole, and contributed to extremely high water supplies to the lakes. The new record May levels are between one and three inches higher than the previous records for the month set in 1986.

"As we expected, record highs were set in May on a few of our Great Lakes, and our June forecast shows additional record highs likely this summer," said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of Watershed Hydrology, Detroit District. 

The Great Lakes region will continue to see the threat of coastal flooding and shoreline erosion especially during storm events. Localized water levels are often impacted by winds and can be significantly higher during storms. Water levels and flow rates in the connecting channels of the Great Lakes are also high and may, depending on winds and other atmospheric conditions, lead to localized flooding.

The Corps has authority to support communities in flood fighting by providing technical expertise, and in certain instances, provide flood fight supplies, such as sand bags and plastic sheeting. This assistance must be requested by state authorities. Communities should contact their county emergency management offices, who can begin coordination with the state and the Corps.

The Corps, Detroit District, in coordination with partners in Environment and Climate Change Canada, release the official six month forecast for the Great Lakes. The Monthly Bulletin of Water Levels for the Great Lakes is completed at the beginning of each month, with the latest edition covering the period from June to November. To find the Monthly Bulletin of Water Levels for the Great Lakes visit:

For additional information, contact Lynn Rose, director of public affairs at 313-226-4680 or Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology at 313-226-6442 at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District.

To find more information about international outflow regulation activities visit:



Lynn Rose
313-300-0662 (cell)

Release no. 19-006