Does Lake Michigan experience any tidal fluctuations like the oceans do?

Weather

Dear Tom,

Tides in the oceans are quite obvious. The water surges in and out because of the moon’s gravitational pull. Does Lake Michigan experience any tidal fluctuations like the oceans do?

Don Larch

Dear Don,

Lake Michigan, like all bodies of water, large or small, is affected by the gravitational pull of the moon (and also the sun). It does, indeed, experience tides. However, the tides in Lake Michigan are miniscule compared to their ocean counterparts. They range from about one-half inch to one and one-half inches in height and they occur twice daily, just as they do on ocean shores. Such small tidal variations are completely masked by wave action at the beaches and by other short-period water level fluctuations caused by winds and changes in air pressure.

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