Lake Erie has been breaking water level records over the past month. In May, the lake hit its highest average monthly water level since 1918.
Scott Hardy is an extension educator for the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. He says the lake is about 30 inches above normal and while water level change is a natural cycle, recent research shows that climate change has contributed.
“Partly natural phenomenon, partly something we’re going to see more of in the future. Higher highs and lower lows, so a greater variation in water level. But please know that no matter how high it is now, it’ll certainly go down in the future.”
Higher water levels mean smaller beaches and more wave action. For land owners with coastal land, this means an increase in erosion. Hardy suggests land owners should be aware of changes.
But for swimmers, Hardy says following standard beach procedures should keep them safe. The higher levels themselves don’t impact water quality.
To keep track of changes, Hardy suggests swimmers use the U.S. Geological Survey’s Ohio NowCast app (below), which gives up to date information on specific beaches in Ohio.