22 Jun June 2019 Update – Water Levels
It’s no big surprise that we are experiencing a return to high water levels in Grand Haven and Lake Michigan. One might ask “how did we get this way” when in January 2013 we were in record territory for “low” water levels.
Well let’s go back and review the weather, or micro-climate, for an explanation for our situation. It all turned around on the water balance beginning in the summer of 2013 when we received above average precipitation and below average temperatures in the fall that year. In fact, November was a very cold and snowy month where we had more than 6 inches of snow on the ground before Thanksgiving. The next five months leading into April 2014 was one of the coldest and snowiest winters dating back to 1978 where we had a total of 156 inches of snow for the 2013-2014 winter! It was so cold that the ice remained on the lake until April 18, 2014 and Lake Michigan was almost 100% ice coverage in early March 2014. The floodgates opened when we had another severe winter in 2014-2015 with lots of Lake Michigan ice and well above average precipitation for the balance of 2015. Even though the winters returned to more normal conditions in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, we still had above average precipitation and cooler than normal years during that period. We usually average about 33 inches of precipitation a year but every year exceeded that average and one year we had nearly 48 inches of precipitation. 2019 is no exception as we have been well below average in temperature and well above average in rain and snow since January 15 this year.
Presently the water is lapping up on the pier even on “wave-less” days and we don’t need is a typical November gale to chew up the last remaining beach separating our lakeshore cottages from disaster. Relief from the high water does not look forthcoming as the rivers and streams continue to rise threatening the bridges and roads of West Michigan. One hope is that we get a mild and dry winter with little to no ice on the Great Lakes. Also, a hot and dry summer will help and stop or slow down the rising waters. Until then, we can only hope that we don’t get that one big fall storm….