Lake Superior started August by breaking the monthly high water level record, the fourth straight month that’s happened, as the big lake continues its high water trend.
The International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Friday that Lake Superior rose by 1.2 inches in July, less than the usual 1.6 inches but still enough to push the lake nearly an inch above the previous record high level for August 1 set in 1950.
The big lake sits 14 inches above the 100-year average for Aug. 1 and is 9 inches above the level at this time in 2018.
Lake Superior could near another monthly record in September, but a new, all-time record now seems less likely. Thanks to dryer weather in June and July, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit is now predicting the lake is likely to remain below the October 1985 all-time record high as Lake Superior begins its seasonal decline toward winter.
The high water continues to cause problems for lakefront property owners, especially along the South Shore and Duluth’s Park Point. But it’s also spurring erosion on beaches and inundating key wildlife habitat in the Twin Ports harbor.
“Water levels across the Great Lakes system remain near or above record-highs for this time of year. As a result, there is a much-increased risk of shoreline erosion, lakeshore flooding and coastal damages across the upper Great Lakes system,” the board reported in its monthly update. “The board advises all those that may be affected to prepare for potentially severe coastal impacts, especially during periods of strong winds and high waves.”
Lake Superior generally rises from April through August or September and then drops from October through March.
Meanwhile Lakes Erie and Ontario were also at record-high August levels while Lakes Michigan-Huron are 2 inches below the record high beginning of August level set in 1986. Michigan-Huron are 31 inches above the long-term average and 16 inches higher than they were Aug. 1, 2018.