High Water on Lake Michigan

High water levels continue to ravage the Lake Michigan shoreline, as October 2019 closed with a gale. Where days earlier there had been low dunes, the remains of deep roots indicate how much sand and dune grass were washed away in a single storm.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitors water levels which are available through the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). A NOAA hydrograph shows "the annual average water level (based on lake-wide averages) for every year as well as the long-term mean level." While the lakes are high now at just over 580 feet above sea level, in the past they have been well over a foot higher.

Hydrograph, 1860-2019 Oct

In the summer of 2019, water levels reached record highs on some individual days, but were not sustained for monthly average record highs.

Lake Michigan-Huron 2019 water levels

The US Army Corps of Engineers-Detroit District has a useful FAQ about water levels.

If you want up to the minute information on wave conditions, you can follow data from the Michigan City Buoy. For example, as evening twilight approached on Halloween 2019, waves were already over 11 feet and rising.

Michigan City weather buoy, 10/31/19

To watch the live conditions at the New Buffalo harbor, check out the live webcam looking toward the lake. Other weather links including forecasts pertaining specifically to the New Buffalo region are at www.nightwise.org/sailing.

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