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.
Forecasts are showing that the lake level in March is expected to be 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 spring 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.