Lake level update

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Lake level update

Postby Northerner » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:54 am

We really notice the increase water level at some of spots we go to besides Sheboygan’s main beach. Infact we have completely lost our in town north wind spot and a few other launches we go to outside of Sheboygan once in awhile. This could really effect us all he future...

Found on a Great Lakes Commercial Shipping site:

Lake Michigan levels are up and continuing to rise

9/17 - Muskegon, Mich. – The steady rise of Lake Michigan water levels continued this summer as the big lake was nearly a foot higher at the end of August compared to a year ago.

Wet weather throughout the Great Lakes basin has contributed to the rise in lake levels, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts wetter-than-normal conditions through February.

That might mean Lake Michigan could continue to rise. But since the lake was at historic lows in 2007, it remains today at 3-4 inches below historical averages, according to the Army Corps.

"We had a very wet August across the Great Lakes," said Keith Kompoltowicz, an Army Corps meteorologist in the Detroit District Office. "We usually see Lake Michigan decline in the month of August, but in fact it stayed steady this year."

Precipitation in Muskegon for the three summer months was just 0.1 inch above normal through August, and Detroit was up 0.79 inches for the period. Chicago had 1.29 inches of rain above an average summer.

That and two consecutive winters with average or above snowfall have sent Lake Michigan up 11 inches at the end of August compared to 2008. Water levels were as high in August 2009 as any August since 1997, according to Army Corps water level records.

Boaters and commercial shippers are pleased with the cyclical increases in water levels but beach-goers are finding less real estate.

The increasing Great Lakes water levels this summer seem to fit cyclical patterns that had record high water in 1986 bracketed by historic low levels in 1964 and 2007. But some climate scientists are predicting global climate changes could dramatically drop lake levels over the next century.

A United Nations report on climate change in 2007 suggested Lake Michigan could drop 5 feet in the next 100 years. Such reports caused alarm at a time when low water was causing problems in commercial shipping and recreational boating.

"If we continue to see these (wet) conditions over the next six months, as we are predicting, there will be an increase in water levels vs. the long-term averages," Kompoltowicz said.

Muskegon Chronicle
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Postby West » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:24 am

Yeah for the first time in years the post at Zion was in water on Wed. Of course there was onshore winds and a 6-7foot shorepound....and I do mean SHOREPOUND!!!!

Don't tell Noah that we were at a historical low in 2007!!!!!! :roll: It's all propaganda...............We'll have discuss it over a 12pk of Oberon at KOGL!!
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Postby V » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:53 am

nice! This could mean waveriding at Zion is back!
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Postby noabacca » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:26 pm

It is only when people propose fallacious reasoning and swear to the antithesis of fact, that I feel the urge to chime in with a retort....
so today, you only get an Ellis Lanksder interview remix, so enjoy yourselves.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMuVyip1CAs&feature=player_embedded

.....and I will hear you out, but I'll have Sierra Nevada instead.
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Postby West » Sat Sep 19, 2009 6:53 am

I'll bring an assorted mixture of Nevada's. Got a great beer store around the corner. I'll see if they have some of their limited seasonals on the shelf. See you with some cold ones soon, and we'll discuss why this Fall is set to be the windiest on record!!!!!!!!!!!

You're the BEST Noah, don't listen to V, he talks about everybody behind their backs.......... :lol:

And, yes V, the waves will be a pumping at Zion on the next North!!
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Postby noabacca » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:17 am

Image

Here you go West, I give it freely, it's what you wanted after all.

:lol:
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Postby West » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:25 am

Crackin' me up buddy!!! we going to have some fun at KOGL....maybe even make it to the "honey hole"!!

Sent a buddy to LSP about a month ago....he ended up at Ludington State Park.....said it was nice!! Have to ride with you there, sometime. I'll be heading up to TC about mid October...hopefully a couple of times!
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Postby Northerner » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:14 am

Some more recent info on the situation.

Four of Five Great Lakes on the rise

12/21 - The levels of four Great Lakes are higher than a year ago and all except Lake Ontario should start next year's recreational boating season at or above last year's levels, according to two reports this month.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are predicted to be slightly above last year's levels to start this coming May, while Superior, St. Clair and Erie are expected to be about the same as last year, according to a six-month outlook issued this month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Actual levels will depend in part on precipitation and how much of the lakes' surface freezes over this winter, a factor that limits water loss by evaporation.

Recent cold air has allowed ice to form on many protected areas of the lakes, according to the Corps report issued Thursday.

This week, Huron and Michigan are 10 inches above last year, Superior is up 4 inches, and Erie and St. Clair are both 1 inch higher. Lake Ontario is 1 inch below last year, the report says.

The Great Lakes gradually have been recovering toward long-term averages after near-historic low levels in the middle part of the decade.

Surface levels can have a significant impact on the cost of Great Lakes shipping -- higher levels mean freighters can carry heavier loads. And shifts of just a few inches can mean changes of hundreds of feet on shoreline property and affect recreational boaters and tourism.

The Detroit News
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Postby Herbie » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:40 am

The big northerly blow a few weeks ago brought some carnage to the bay of Green Bay. I missed it, but Connie and neighbors saw canoes, kayaks, rowboats, boatlifts, and beach chairs, floating by in the big waves. People were scrambling to get personal items they thought were at a safe distance from the water, to "high ground".

The water is definitely higher in the bay, maybe at levels I last saw in the early 90's windsurfing. The waves are way better too (of course nothing like the big lake, but still better)!
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Postby skysurfr » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:25 pm

Montrose is almost under water now. I flew by the other day, and noticed what looked like a large pond in the center of the beach.

The entire kite launch area as well as the dog beach was under water in the mid-1980's. The sea-walled area used to be a boat launch!

Im not sure I could talk the city into trucking in 3 feet of sand to keep us high and dry.

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Postby gbleck » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:51 pm

20knot on shore winter waves will do that. :)
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Postby Northerner » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:45 am

Most recent news, which is good news for us. Up here we are able to again use a lanuch north of the city that was under water last year.

Lake levels expected to be down as much as 10 inches

4/21 - Detroit, Mich. – After a dry winter, Michigan boaters can expect levels of most Great Lakes to be 5 to 8 inches lower this summer than last year. Some lakes were already lower last year than their long-term averages.

For boat owners, that means more shallow spots and docks further from the water, but for lakefront cottage owners, it means slightly bigger beaches.

The reason for expected lower levels on the lakes is a very dry winter and early spring, said Bill Deedler, weather historian for the National Weather Service in White Lake Township. While southeast Michigan was among the wettest areas, places to the north were much drier. Northern Michigan had one of its driest winters since 1893, said Jim Keysor, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

During the next six months, Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario and St. Clair are expected to be 5 to 10 inches below last year's levels, while Lake Superior will be at almost the same level as last year, according to the Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit office.

Lake St. Clair was hit hard by ice jams on the St. Clair River that dropped the level of the lake nearly 2 feet in February, but it's rebounding. Still, it's 9 inches below its level last April and will gain only about an inch through the summer.

The predictions are based on expected weather, but heavy rains or drought can alter the levels.

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Re: Lake level update

Postby Northerner » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:16 am

Latest for the 2011 season. Again good news for us. I went for a jog yesterday and was very pleased with the size of sheboygans beaches this spring. As the article states though this can all change.


Great Lakes water levels expected to be down this summer

3/31 - Muskegon, Mich. - Lake Michigan’s water level is forecasted to be down this summer, leaving coastal property owners with larger beachfront areas but forcing boaters to navigate shallower water.

Lake Michigan and Lake Huron — technically one body of water — are predicted to be down 8 to 10 inches from last summer’s level, caused by lower than average snowfall and precipitation over the past year, said Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District Office.

Another factor was less ice on Lake Michigan, which fueled water evaporation and lake effect storms. While the storms dumped a lot of snow on West Michigan this winter, the resulting snowmelt wasn’t a net increase to the lake, officials said.

How severe the lake drop is this summer depends on how much rain and precipitation falls over the Great Lake’s region this spring, Kompoltowicz said.

“The most recent information that I have for precipitation shows that lakes Michigan and Huron have received well above average precipitation so far in March,” Kompoltowicz said. “So that may cause our forecast that we’ll issue next week to be adjusted upward a little bit.”

Lake Superior is expected to be as much as 8 inches below last summer’s level, while Lake Erie is expected to dip as much as 6 inches below last year’s level, according to the Army Corps February forecast. Lake Ontario is expected to equal to or be higher than last summer’s level.

If Lake Michigan’s water level dips as expected, it means boaters will have to be more mindful of where they pilot their vessels, said Kathleen Torresen, general manager of Torresen Marine in Muskegon.

“Every couple of inches matters, and it has to do with the boaters’ awareness of the water they’re on,” Torresen said. “When people just take for granted that everything is the same as it’s ever been, they could start running into things they haven’t before.”

Falling water levels are nothing new to the Great Lakes, Kompoltowicz said. Since the late 1990s, Lake Michigan has undergone its second longest stretch of continuously below average levels since the Army Corps began collecting data in the mid-1800s.

Lake Michigan surged to a near record high in May 1997, when it was 9 inches below the all-time record high of 582.3 feet recorded in October 1986, 4.8 feet above the average surface level.

Dry winters and low precipitation caused Lake Michigan levels to decline, Kompoltowicz said.

By December 2007, the water level had sunk to near historic lows. The lake rebounded in June 2008, when it rose 6 inches in one month — triple the average rise in June, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data.

“It’s been kind of gain a little bit, lose a little bit. Gain a little more, lose a little more,” Kompoltowicz said. “We just haven’t had that consistent, very snowy winter, wet spring several years in a row to get us back to average.”

For beachgoers, the drop isn’t a bad thing. Every inch rise in lake levels equates to 10 inches of lost beach, according to government data. At Grand Haven State Park, the rise and fall in lake levels hasn’t led to large changes in the park’s beachfront since Supervisor Pat Whalen came to the park eight years ago.

“Year-to-year, it might be a 30 to 40 feet difference in the shoreline, but nothing substantial,” Whalen said.

Look at the shoreline 40 years ago, and it’s a different story, he said. “We’ve got pictures that show it was much higher,” Whalen said. “At least a 150-foot difference or more back in the ‘70s.”

But what’s good for beach lovers is bad for the Great Lakes shipping industry.

Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers’ Association, said every inch of water lost equates to a diminished carrying capacity of anywhere from 50 tons to 270 tons.

“It’s only rare that we lose an inch,” he said. “Oftentimes we are talking a foot or more.”

Where the decline hurts the shipping industry is water levels near Michigan’s 38 ports, Nekvasil said. The Army Corps of Engineers needs to remove about 15.5 million cubic yards of sediment to make the waterways more navigable, he said.

“When we say lake levels that’s actually kind of a misnomer because out in the middle of the lake obviously you’ve got more water than you would ever know what to do with,” he said. “It’s the water level in the ports and the connecting channels.”

By the end of this week, the King Co. of Holland was to begin dredging the Muskegon harbor, an action performed every three years. Last October, the 1,000-foot Indiana Harbor coal-carrying freighter ran aground near the entrance of the harbor on its way to the Consumers Energy B.C. Cobb plant. The freighter also ran aground in nearly the same location in August 2007.

Recreational boaters probably won’t notice a dramatic difference this summer, even on White Lake and Muskegon Lake, said Eric Harsch, co-owner of at Crosswinds Marine Service in Whitehall.

“The key factor is being up on your local knowledge and knowing your charts,” he said. “The shallower parts are going to be shallower but there’s deeper parts to get in.”

The Muskegon Chronicle
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Re: Lake level update

Postby adseguy » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:31 am

Thanks for the update
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Re: Lake level update

Postby V » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:46 am

Funny....

" Last October, the 1,000-foot Indiana Harbor coal-carrying freighter ran aground near the entrance of the harbor on its way to the Consumers Energy B.C. Cobb plant. The freighter also ran aground in nearly the same location in August 2007. "
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Re: Lake level update

Postby noabacca » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:34 pm

So, does that mean we are going into a 'double dip' lake level 'recession' as well?
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Re: Lake level update

Postby adseguy » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:17 pm

noabacca wrote:So, does that mean we are going into a 'double dip' lake level 'recession' as well?


Just start throwing piles of money into the lake...that should balance it all out.
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Re: Lake level update

Postby V » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:07 am

No dredging + low lake level = point break keanu reeving at muskegon harbor inlet

With the higher waters we need to petition to drop a bus
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Lake level update

Postby Northerner » Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:43 pm

Thought it would be good to revisit this thread with the big drought this summer. After the big south blow last Wednesday we now have more beach than I have ever seen in Sheboygan. South beach goes almost all the way to the pier now with a huge beach below the rocks at Blue harbor. Still would be hard to launch a kite as the rocks block the wind but one can easily walk up to get the good waves or flat water butter. We now have nice beaches north of the city make for a good spot in NNW winds

I pasted a New York Times article below that I came across


On the Great Lakes, low waters and high anxiety

9/26 - This summer’s drought has continued to draw down water levels in Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron (hydrologically speaking, Michigan and Huron are the same body of water). New forecasts suggest that water levels in the two lakes may soon hit an all-time low, aggravating an economic quandary: with such low levels, cargo ships have to forgo millions of dollars of freight.

Last month 25 senators signed a letter calling on the federal Office of Management and Budget to devote more money to dredging the nations harbors. Federal taxes on ship cargo in coastal systems, including the Great Lakes, flow into a Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, from which money is appropriated for operations and maintenance of harbors and ports, they noted.

Despite a balance of more than $8 billion, recent appropriations have averaged only $800 million, according to the letter.

“You hear the Great Lakes called a blue water highway,” said Chuck May, chairman of the Great Lakes Small Harbor Coalition, a dredging advocacy group. “I say to them what good is a superhighway if you don’t have any on or off ramps?”

Temporary or even permanent harbor closings could become more common if drought conditions continue. Last December, shipments to two ports in Michigan were canceled because shallow waters forced them to shut down.

When water levels approached record highs in 1997, the largest lake freighters were hauling 71,000 tons of cargo at a time. But all that tonnage weighs a ship down, and cargo loads declined after lake levels began a rapid decline in the late 1990’s.

“By the start of the 2000 navigation season, the biggest ships were lucky if they had 60,000 tons on board,” said Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers Association, the trade group representing vessel operators in the Great Lakes that are registered under the United States flag. “So that’s when things really started to become critical.”

Since 1999, annual average water levels have been consistently below the historic averages recorded since 1860 in Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron. A major research question for scientists is whether that trend will persist. Levels in Lakes Ontario and Erie have not fallen over the same period according to data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, and similar troughs during the 1930’s and 1960’s could suggest that this is a natural cycle.

But if the data are the beginning of a new normal, climate change could be the culprit, researchers say. Higher temperatures and receding ice cover might increase the rate of evaporation faster than precipitation and runoff can replenish the lakes.

Temperature-based computer models do suggest an increase in evaporation over the last 30 years, but researchers are only now verifying those results with direct measurements by gauges on remote lighthouses throughout the lakes.

At any rate, Great Lakes harbors are becoming shallower. The Army Corps of Engineers dredges more than two million cubic yards of mud and sand from Great Lakes ports each year, scooping out sediment flushed into the harbors by erosion along riverbanks and lakeshores. But the dredging has not kept up with demand.

Climate change could further complicate those operations by periodically increasing precipitation in the region. Lake Erie saw one of its largest-ever seasonal water level rises between February and June 2011 as result of record rainfall. More than 17 million cubic yards of excess sediment already clog the ports, with that amount expected to grow to 21 million cubic yards by 2015.

The 2012 federal budget calls for dredging on only 16 of the 63 federally maintained ports on the lakes. Even the top-priority harbors, those with about 90 percent of the commercial traffic, are adequately dredged only 35 percent of the time, according to estimates by the Army Corps of Engineers.

To industry representatives and port residents like Mr. May of the Great Lakes Small Harbor Coalition, it is an avoidable crisis. Mr. May started up the organization in 2007 after the sailboat Barracuda sank in his hometown while returning to Chicago after the annual yacht race to Mackinac Island. The ship gashed its keel in four feet of water after seeking refuge from storm conditions on Lake Michigan in a harbor that was supposed to have 18 feet of clearance.

“That’s when I got on the phone with other harbor communities,” Mr. May said, “and found out we all had the same problem.”

Ships delivering 500,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Dunkirk, N.Y., for example, began to skirt bottom so often that the port stopped receiving coal trade in 2005. The cargo now travels there by rail instead, albeit with a greater carbon footprint.
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