That’s the forecast in a nutshell for Great Lakes water levels this summer, experts say.
Lake Huron is up 10 inches from this time last year, according to the latest forecast from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The lake, measured together with Lake Michigan for forecasting purposes, is expected to be up by 8 to 10 inches this July, compared to the summer of 2004, said Phil C. Ross, acting chief for the Corps’ hydrology branch in Detroit.
In recent years, water level forecasters have been careful about saying that lake levels are on the upswing, signaling an end to near-record low water levels that have plagued the Great Lakes, causing barges to lighten their loads and marinas to dredge.
But Ross said he thinks the levels are edging back up, even though there’s still a degree of uncertainty about the natural cycles of the lakes.
“If the meltoff is good and spring rains are semi-heavy and at least above-average, then you’re definitely going to see higher levels (this summer), but it’s definitely going to be driven by the storm patterns this spring.”
The latest forecast shows Michigan-Huron at 3 inches above the depth markings on navigational charts and 10 inches up from this time last year.
Lake Huron is still 10 inches below its long-term monthly average level for March, and 40 inches below the highest recorded monthly mean in 1986, but 20 inches above the lowest recorded monthly mean from 1964.
The lake is projected to rise another 3 inches by April 4, the Corps says.
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