Water levels over Bluff Road on the Old Mission Peninsula
January 2020: Water over Bluff Road | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Wondering how the water levels around the Old Mission Peninsula are looking for 2020? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its projections for the next six months, and guess what? It looks like we can expect even higher water levels around our little Peninsula – which signals even more erosion issues and perhaps more road closures.

Below is a graphic released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Detroit District yesterday. Let’s dive into the graphic and analyze the numbers. (Click on the graphic for a larger version.)

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The red line is the recorded water level since January 2018. The black lines are the current record level for each month, with the year indicated on each line. So, for example, in January 2019, the black line is the record high for that month, which took place in 1987. The actual recorded water level was far below the record high that month.

The green dashed line on the right side of the graph is the one to pay attention to, because that’s the projected water level for the next six months. And you can see that it’s projected to be even higher than the record levels for each of those months.

However, that doesn’t mean that’s what will happen. The shaded red area surrounding the green dashed line indicates a likely range of values for the next six months. The upper limit of the shaded red area puts water levels about six inches higher than past record levels. The lower limit of the shaded red area puts water levels below past record levels. So, it could go either way.

Lake Michigan Water Level 2020 1

But take a look at the upper level for June 2020. If the water level goes that high, it would place the water levels of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron at an all-time record high – higher than the record level, which took place in October 1986.

Keep in mind that during the past year, the water levels in all of the other Great Lakes have set new record highs – and most of those records were set during the summer months. Lakes Michigan and Huron just missed breaking a record last year by one inch.

As Mark Breederland, Extension Educator with Michigan Sea Grant, said in the OMP Shoreline Workshop organized by resident Monnie Peters last November, “buckle your seatbelts,” because 2020 is shaping up to be another year of high water in northern Michigan.

For more information about Great Lakes water levels from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, click here.

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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