Lake Michigan erosion threatens West Michigan beach properties in Norton Shores and Ferrysburg on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. (Cory Morse |

The January report from Environment and Climate Change Canada:

All the Great Lakes have declined since their annual high levels, however the December water level was either the second or third highest on all the lakes for the period of record (1918-2018).  With very high levels on all of the lakes and the possibility of large storms and winds during winter months there is high risk for accelerated coastline erosion and flooding to occur in low lying areas. For current information and forecasts, please refer to local sources of information listed below.

We are now at the time of year when both Lakes Erie and Ontario have reached their seasonal minimum levels.  From this point on, they would be expected to hold steady and then start to rise over the next few months.  Typically Lakes Superior and Michigan/Huron should continue their seasonal decline for a few more months before starting to rise again.

Although all the lakes are below their record levels, they are all high enough that extremely wet conditions could result in more record highs in early 2020.  As well, with Lakes Superior starting January at its second highest level on record and Michigan-Huron at its highest beginning of January level, even average conditions would lead to record high monthly-mean levels in the coming months for these lakes.


We are at the time of year when Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron would typically still be declining under average water supplies, while Lake Erie and Ontario would hold steady or begin their seasonal rise in the coming months.

As mentioned above, the level of Lake Superior is expected to decline during the winter, however, Lake Superior starts out this year at a very high level. So high that even with average conditions, lake levels could match record levels and wet conditions would lead to record high levels for the next few months.

The likelihood of reaching record levels in the coming months is even higher for Lake Michigan-Huron. In fact, it would take drier than average water supplies to prevent a record high level for January.  While even average conditions would result in record highs throughout the winter and spring.

More details here.