Great Lakes record water levels set, watching spring

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In this Wednesday, May 8, 2019 photo, Estral Beach Firefighters Courtney Millar, right, Eric Bruley, and Chase Baldwin pull the Estral Beach fire boat with Chief Dave Millar down Lakeshore Dr. in the south end of Estral Beach in Berlin Township, Mich., to see if anyone needs to be evacuated while also checking the floodwaters. […]

DETROIT — Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie set new monthly mean water level records for April 2020, which were previously set in 1985 or 1986, according to The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District.

All of the lakes are either in their period of seasonal rise or are reaching their peak during the continuation into late spring and summer.

Although the end of April brought heavy rainfall to some areas of the basin, the month as a whole was quite dry for the Great Lakes region.

During the spring, water levels typically rise on the Great Lakes due to increased rainfall and runoff. In the coming months, water levels are projected to continue to be near or above the record high water levels on all of the lakes, except Lake Ontario. Significant erosion and flooding continues in many locations as water levels remain extremely high.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are still projected to peak above last year’s levels after a marginal seasonal decline this fall and winter. While it is extremely unlikely that water levels on Lake Ontario will approach the record high levels from last year, the other lakes are still projected to peak near last year’s record levels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges those impacted by the high water levels of last year to continue preparing for similar impacts over the next few months.

“During this high water level period, it is rewarding to get out and work with our partners and communities to help alleviate flooding where possible,” said Pat Kuhne, emergency manager for the Detroit District. “We are here to provide services within our authorities, to additional communities. Any community or individual homeowner needing assistance should reach out to their county or local emergency manager to so that coordination for assistance with us can begin.”

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, has conducted many on-site assessments under technical assistance authority in 16 approved counties and has provided flood fight supplies under 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 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/

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