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Great Lakes Water Levels Continue Rising, More Records Expected In 2020

MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (1/10/2020) - Water levels on the Great Lakes are continuing to climb, which isn't good news for shoreline property owners battling severe erosion.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said water levels on each of the five Great Lakes started 2020 higher than they started 2019. The agency expects several more monthly record high water levels in 2020.

Water levels are expected to remain well above average for at least the next six months.

Already, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are more than 3 feet above average, Lake Erie is more than 2 feet above average while Lake Superior and Lake Huron are more than 1 foot above average.

The Army Corps of Engineers expects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which are considered a single body of water, to reach an all-time record high level this year.

“It is likely that water levels on lakes Michigan and Huron will set new monthly mean record high levels over the next couple of months,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office in Detroit. “This sets the stage for coastal impacts and damages in 2020 similar to, or worse than, what was experienced last year.”

Researchers plan persistent wet weather around the Great Lakes basin for pushing water levels higher. Warm temperatures also increased runoff in December and caused less evaporation from the lakes' surface.

High water levels have contributed to severe shoreline erosion, which has destroyed some houses and threatened dozens more.

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