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Environment & Energy

Lake Erie's Water Levels Already at High Levels, Could go Higher

photo of Lake Erie
JEFF ST. CLAIR
/
WKSU
Storms forecast over the next week could push Lake Erie's water levels even higher.

Water levels in Lake Erie this summer are much higher than last year, and that’s beginning to cause problems. 

By this time of year, Lake Erie usually reaches its peak water level, beginning a seasonal decline with drier conditions.  

But this year has been a rare one -- Lake Erie was about 20 inches above its long term precipitation average. Lake levels of all five Great Lakes are higher this year than they were a year ago.  

With intermittent storms forecast for the next week, Lake Erie may be closer to reaching record highs.

Keith  Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Detroit office, says the high water can lead to structural damage.

"Folks that own property along the lakes may be concerned about increased erosion, increased instances of coastal flooding," says Kompoltowicz.

Lake Ontario this year reached the highest level in the 99 years that the Army Corps has tracked the statistic. 

The New York state legislature recently approved a $55 million aid package to cities and towns bordering the lake hit by flooding.

Over on Lake Erie, Geneva State Park 50 miles east from Cleveland rerouted a bike path that runs along the shoreline after a section eroded into the lake. 

Great Lakes Today is a collaboration of ideastream, WBFO Buffalo and WXXI Rochester.