For the second month in a row Lakes Michigan and Huron have set a preliminary new record low water level.
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, the new record low of 576.02 feet is not only the lowest January monthly average water level ever recorded, but the lowest monthly average for any month since official record-keeping started in 1918.
"Not only have water levels on Michigan-Huron broken records the past two months, but they have been very near record lows for the last several months before then," says John Allis, Chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office. "Lake Michigan-Huron's water levels have also been below average for the past 14 years, which is the longest period of sustained below average levels since 1918."
The Corps says the record low levels are the result of lower than average snowfall during the winter of 2011-2012 and the very hot and dry summer that followed. Above-average evaporation during the summer and fall months also contributed to the rapid seasonal decline.
The Corps' latest forecasts indicate a strong likelihood for continued record lows on Lake Michigan-Huron over the next several months.
More information on the Great Lakes water levels can be found at http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/