Lake Superior Levels High but Dropping This Winter

Experts say levels have dropped, and evaporation is expected to occur.

DULUTH, Minn.- The recent snow and rain the Northland has been getting has put experts on alert, watching Lake Superior lake levels.

According to experts at the Minnesota Sea Grant, lake levels have remained about 20 inches above average, but decreased six inches since October. Levels are expected to drop another three inches through this month.

Ice cover on the lake is predicted to be lower this winter, at 54%, which will let more water evaporate.

“The less ice cover we have, the more water can evaporate back to the atmosphere and that should help a little bit with lowering lake levels,” said Jesse Schomberg, Associate Director of Extension at the Minnesota Sea Grant.

“Evaporation across the lake is a really big part of the water budget. On average coming off the lake it’s similar to the flow of the Mississippi River down at Minneapolis.”

Unfortunately, there may still be a steady influx of water keeping the levels above average.

“The downside is that NOAA’s also predicting above average precipitation over the next three months, and that of course is gonna do the way opposite,” Schomberg said.

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