Lake Michigan water level below normal for spring

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Lake Michigan water levels drop in 2021
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Lake Michigan water levels have fallen by over a foot in the last year.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Lake Michigan water levels have fallen by over a foot in the last year.

The recent dry weather has kept the lake from rising this spring.

"Normally from March to April we would have expected to see a rise in lake levels," said Chris Warren, Army Corps of Engineers. "We didn't see that this year, it stayed flat."

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Though the lake is significantly lower, it's still much higher than what is typical for this time of year, so the threat of flooding remains high.

"The risk of shoreline flooding and erosion, the coastal processes that happen all the time are still elevated just not as much as last year," Warren said.

Strong northeast winds will still pose a major flood and erosion threat to many areas along the lakefront.

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The reason the lake has fallen so much is because precipitation has been well below normal across much of the Great Lakes region.

While the Chicago area actually saw above normal snowfall this winter, most locations near the Great Lakes saw very low snow totals. Our total precipitation since the start of the year is only 5.51 inches, which is less than half of normal.

Though the lake level will increase as it usually does as we head into summer, this year's rise is expected to be less than normal.