Update on Lake Huron Water Level
Based on the latest information from US and Canadian Hydrographic Services, Maitland Conservation is warning landowners along the shoreline that the water level of Lake Huron is expected to continue rising in 2020.
In January and February the level of Lake Huron reached record highs for those months. Typically the lake experiences a seasonal decline in September and October. Unfortunately in 2019 the level increased slightly during this period due to high rainfall amounts along the Michigan side of the Lake Michigan – Lake Huron watershed.
The lake level in March 2020 was approximately 30 cm (12 inches) higher than during the same period in 2019.
Fluctuating lake levels is a natural process. The Lake Huron water level is determined by precipitation, evaporation and outflow from Lake Superior. The amount of rain and snow that falls in the Lake Huron and Lake Superior watersheds impacts water levels; however, the role of evaporation is sometimes overlooked. Ice cover in the winter reduces the amount of evaporation that occurs. As a result, successive years with high ice cover contribute to higher lake levels.
“It’s unfortunate that it looks like we’ll be going into the summer of 2020 with the water level significantly higher than it was in 2019,” said Jackson. “The clay bluffs in our area are susceptible to erosion and the pounding of waves at the base of the bluffs increases the risk of significant bluff failure.
It is very difficult to predict exactly when and where bluff failure will occur. There is often a time delay between erosion at the bottom of the bluff and subsequent failure at the top of the bluff. With the water level being so high, Maitland Conservation is reminding residents to stay well back from breaking waves and from top-of-bluff areas. If landowners see bluff slumping or cracks forming on their property, they are asked to contact Maitland Conservation at 519-357-0890.
We’ve added voice-overs to recent shoreline presentations and posted then on You Tube. Click the links below to view them:
- Lake Levels – factors impacting lake levels and projections for summer 2020
- Shoreline Erosion – erosion processes along our stretch of Lake Huron
Want more information?
- Check out the factsheets that have been posted on this page.
- Due to the COVID-19 situation staff are currently working remotely but Cottage Associations and landowners are welcome to reach out to us for on-line presentations on coastal processes and lake levels. We can provide these presentations in a variety of formats and staff are also available by phone and Zoom video conferencing. In addition, recent aerial photos are available to landowners if you would like to see the state of your shoreline without travelling. If you’re interested in an on-line presentation or shoreline photo, please contact Shannon Millar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-335-3557 ext. 240.
Flood Outlook for Port Albert
The high lake level means a heightened risk of flooding around the mouth of the Nine Mile River for the next several months. The high water level combined with wave action may cause material to build up at the mouth of the river. When this occurs, the Apple Lane and Maple Lane areas may flood rapidly. This flooding may impact structures and result in a loss of access to these areas. Given the current level of the lake, flood levels could be higher than those experienced in past years.
Residents in the area should remain prepared for periodic flooding and are reminded that it is dangerous to attempt to drive or walk through flood waters. Children and pets should be kept well away from flooded areas. Residents are encouraged to call 519-357-0890 if they notice that flooding is occurring.
Because the high lake level is expected to persist for the next several months, this message is in effect until June 15, 2020 or until sufficient changes to local conditions warrant further updates.
Stephen Jackson, Flood and Erosion Safety Services Coordinator
Jayne Thompson, Communications Coordinator
519-335-3557 ext. 226 Cell: 519-357-6670