This has been a dry year so far. Has the high level of Lake Michigan dropped in response?
—Pat Byrne, Hoffman Estates
On April 23, the Lake Michigan water level stood at 577.50 feet, down 14 inches from the record high levels recorded one year ago. Great Lakes water levels are based upon a combination of factors, including precipitation, evaporation, and river flow into and out of the lakes. While precipitation here has been well below normal, most of the precipitation (or lack of it), that affects Lake Michigan occurs across the northern Midwest. Last winter’s lack of ice cover on Lake Michigan, resulted in increased evaporation, causing a reduction in the lake level. The long-term trend for both precipitation and evaporation has been upward over the last several decades, favoring a trend to higher lake levels in years to come.