The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces that Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie set new monthly mean water level records for March 2020, which were previously set in 1986. All of the lakes are now in their period of seasonal rise and will continue to rise toward their peaks, which are projected to occur in the late spring or summer.
March was fairly wet in the Great Lakes region with precipitation near to above average across the region. During the spring, water levels on the Great Lakes are usually in a period of seasonal rise due to increased rainfall and runoff. Water levels are expected to rise toward their seasonal peaks over the coming months and will continue to be near or above record high water levels. Significant erosion continues in many locations as water levels remain extremely high. Strong storm systems and resulting large waves have led to substantial erosion along much of the Great Lakes coastline.
“After a generally drier month of February, March brought a return to wetter conditions experienced across the Great Lakes basin,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, Detroit District. “During this period of seasonal rise for the Great Lakes, near or above record high water levels will continue to cause impacts along the shoreline.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges those impacted by the high water levels in 2019 to prepare for similar or higher levels in 2020. The most recent six-month forecast of Great Lakes water levels still forecasts that water levels could peak very near last year’s record levels.
The Detroit District monitors and forecasts Great Lakes’ water levels and provides the data and analysis on their Website www.lre.usace.army.mil.
During response operations, Detroit District, Emergency Management Office conducts emergency operations to save lives and protect specific properties (public/ facilities or services), which includes providing technical support and direct support during flood operations.
Assistance is supplemental to local and state efforts and normally at the request of the state’s governor or local municipality.
In addition, citizens of Indiana and Michigan may decide to work on personal construction projects to alleviate erosion or flooding, which could potentially impact the nation’s rivers, streams, wetlands and other aquatic resources that may require a permit from the Corps of Engineers’ Regulatory Office.
To find more information about Great Lakes high water, emergency management and the permit process visit this link: https://www.lre.usace.army.mil/About/Great-Lakes-High-Water/ which includes information about how to protect property and investments along the coast and related Corps programs and authorities.