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Lake Superior reaches new heights

The current water level is an all-time record for this month.
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Lake Superior Waves

THUNDER BAY — A new record water level for Lake Superior means shoreline property-owners are facing a growing risk of erosion and other damage over the summer and into autumn.

The surface of the big lake currently sits 183.80 metres above sea level, six centimetres more than the previous record for May.

According to the International Lake Superior Board of Control, this is Superior's highest level for this time of year since record-keeping began in 1918.

Jacob Bruxer, the board's Canadian representative, says it increases the chances of shoreline erosion and flooding of low-lying areas, especially when big storm systems generate waves.

"Given where levels are now, we would expect further reports of those kinds of damages, especially during periods of active weather," Bruxer told Tbnewswatch on Thursday.

If it follows its normal pattern, Bruxer said, "Lake Superior is going to keep rising. It hits its annual peak in late summer or early fall. How high it rises, and whether we continue to see record levels really depend on how much precipitation we get over the next several months."

He said a return to drier conditions—after a big snow melt and wet spring in the Lake Superior basin—would slow things down but "folks should understand there are going to be higher levels for some time to come."

Lake Superior's highest all-time peak level was reached in October 1985 at 183.91 metres. "We're even approaching that level" now,  Bruxer noted.

Among the other Great Lakes, Lake Erie is also at a record height for May, while Lake Ontario is on the verge of setting a new mark for the month.  

 



Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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