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Mon Apr 6, 2020, 08:28 AM

Record High Great Lakes Water Levels Have Already Caused Tens Of Millions In Damages - More Coming

The U.S. Great Lakes have surged to unprecedented levels, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage to coastal roads, marinas, and household property. Even more assets could be at risk, owing to forecasts that the swell is likely to continue through the spring and early summer. “We’re definitely looking at another tough year,” warns Lauren Fry, lead lake level forecaster at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit district office. “Even if we saw the driest 12-month water level sequence we’ve ever seen, we’ll still be pretty well above average.”

Data compiled by the Michigan Municipal League estimates that total damages from high lake levels have totaled $63 million so far. Transportation officials in the state warn that long-term roadway damages could amount to $100 million.

Lakes Michigan and Huron set monthly records for each of the first three months in 2020, while Lake Superior reached new monthly highs in January and February, and Lake Erie set a February record. The previous records were set in the late 1980s.

Forecasts for the next several months warn that the lakes could continue that record-setting streak. If spring rains are heavy, meteorologists say the lakes could reach the highest levels since 1918, the year that accurate data-keeping began.



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