Lake Michigan Sets New Record High, But Expected to Slowly Drop Now

For those living along the Lake Michigan shoreline, there’s finally a bit of good news from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake level appears to have peaked for the year and should slowly drop for the rest of the year.

Administrators at the Detroit District office of the Army Corps announced this morning that each of the Great Lakes, except for Lake Superior, have likely reached their peak water levels for the year and are predicted to decline.

Lakes Michigan-Huron set another new monthly mean record high water level in July, however the water level is expected to slowly drop for the balance of the year. Water levels on Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario all continued to decline last month, with no new records set on those lakes in July. The water level of Lake Superior is expected to peak next month before entering its period of typical seasonal decline.

John Allis, Chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, Detroit District, says, “While we expect water levels to decline across most of the Great Lakes, levels still remain extremely high.”

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The Corps most recent forecast projects that Lake Michigan-Huron will likely set another new record high monthly mean water level next month in August before dropping back beneath record highs in September. With the continued high water on many of the lakes, and the approaching active fall storm period, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges those impacted by the high water levels last fall to be preparing for similar or worse impacts over the next few months.

During response operations, Detroit District, Emergency Management Office conducts emergency operations to save lives and protect public facilities and communities. The Corps can provide technical assistance in the form of advice and expertise in the construction of temporary flood protection measures such as sandbagging, or direct assistance by providing flood fight supplies to state, county, or local public officials.  Assistance is supplemental to local and state efforts and at the request of the state.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, activated its Emergency Operations Center in May of 2019 in response to high water on the Great Lakes. July of 2020 marks more than 450 consecutive days of providing support. In that time, the Detroit District has conducted many on-site assessments under their technical assistance authority in 16 approved counties, and has provided flood fight supplies under our direct assistance authority in two counties. To date, the Detroit District has given out 350,000 sandbags to counties to assist them in their flood fighting efforts.

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. Those projects may require a permit from the USACE, 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 USACE programs and authorities.

The photo of a sailboat at sunset on Lake Michigan accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is courtesy of award-winning professional photographer Molly Pate of Berrien Springs.