Great Lakes water levels down an average of 22 inches

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The Windsor Port Authority harbour master does not expect to see flooding issues this year along the Detroit River like in previous years.

Peter Berry says water levels across the Great Lakes are down an average of 22 inches compared to the record levels in 2020.

"We've not seen the spring rise of water, mind you we still have ice up on Lake Superior, so we will see some impact from that but not much," he says. "I don't foresee we're going to have the same flooding issues along the Detroit River."

According to the April 2022 Great Lakes water level summary from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District, Lake Erie was two inches below the level in April 2021 and 18 inches below the record high April level from 2020, sitting at a level of 572.80 feet.

Lake St. Clair was six inches below the level in April 2021 and 20 inches below the record high April level in 2020, sitting at a level of  575.46 feet.

Berry says he's very surprised at how much the water levels have dropped.

"The expectation was we were going to be around 12 to 13 inches down, to be 22 inches, that's quite a lot," he says. "That's indicative of the fact that as much as we've had cloudy days, we haven't had rainy days."

Tim Byrne, Chief Administrative Officer at the Essex Region Conservation Authority says "while we are well below record levels in 2020, we are no way free of risk or threat of flooding given the lakes remain significantly above the long term average. In addition, out flows of the upper Great Lakes have not fully been assessed as ice cover is still prevelant."

In 2019 and 2020, a shoreline ban was put in place along the Detroit River, aimed at reducing damage to the shoreline caused by the high water levels and waves from the wakes of passing boats.

 

Berry is asking boaters to still be cautious even though the water levels are down.

"The water temperatures are very cold for this time of year, we're looking at 41F to 42F. If you're in that water, you're chances are greatly reduced. So it's really important to still act safely and respect the others on the waterway," he adds.

From May to October, Lake Erie water levels are projected to be 18 to 25 inches below record high levels.

From May to October, water levels for Lake St. Clair are forecast to be five to 14 inches below last year’s levels, and 20 to 28 inches below record high levels.

With files from Rob Hindi