It’s a Good Summer for the Low-Level Beaches of Lake Michigan

The Great Lakes region is enjoying another year of lower water levels and wider beaches.

July water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron were more than 2 feet below 2020, a year close to historic highs when waves devoured cherished stretches of sandy beach. With the exception of Lake Ontario, the other Great Lakes are also falling.

And over the next six months, Lake Michigan water levels are expected to remain well below 2020 levels, according to Keith Kompoltovich, the US Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District Watershed Hydrology Section Chief.

“There really is no perfect water level,” Kompoltowicz said. “I can say that during the record highs we’ve experienced recently there was a ton of erosion and property damage and there were a lot of concerns about houses falling into the lake.”

in 2020, Lake Michigan sets a string of monthly records, hovering near the record high of 1986. Ups and downs have come and gone throughout the historical record, and climate change may bring increasing variability between swings.

The water level has dropped due to fall in rain and snow.

According to Lauren Fry, a physicist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, rainfall over Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in July was about 82% of average, or slightly below normal.

Lake Michigan was still 8 inches above the average in July but 26 inches below the height in 2020. in other months, The lake was similarly above average but below the record set in 2020 and 1986. According to the six-month forecast, Lake Michigan is expected to remain about 8 inches above average.

According to Kopoltowicz, the 2020 highs followed several years of very wet conditions – some of them record-setting – on the Great Lakes. That year, 2020, was a drought, causing a drop in lake levels in 2021, Kompoltovich said.

“In 2022, we are seeing more average conditions, and lake levels have responded in the way we typically expect: a nice, healthy seasonal increase in the spring,” he said.

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