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Despite wet summer, Lake Superior level still 10 inches below normal

 

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

THE FACT that the Lake Superior shoreline near the mouth of Montreal River is covered with logs and woody debris is a sign that the summer’s high rainfall totals caused the lake to rise.

After significant increases in the water level of Lake Superior over the past few months, the lake level held relatively steady in August and remains lower than long-term averages.

According to Kevin Crupi, of the National Weather Service office in Marquette, the Lake Superior level stood at 601.86 feet above sea level on Aug. 1 and ended the month slightly higher at 601.94 feet.

August 2013 water levels on Lake Superior were about three to four inches higher than in August of 2012, but still about 10 inches below long-tern norms.

“Greater evaporation associated with higher water temperatures nearly balanced incoming run-off from the land drainage basins,” Crupi explained.

The average water level in July was 601.6 feet.

Ample rainfall this spring and summer has returned the lake to more typical levels after several years of drought.

Crupi, citing data provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the long-term Lake Superior average for August is 602.13 feet, but in August of 2007 the lake had dropped all the way to 600.43 feet.

The highest August average on record was 603.22 feet in 1952.

While Ironwood has received more than twice as much precipitation this year compared to 2012, other communities surrounding the lake, like Duluth, have experienced dry summers.

The Climate Prediction Center forecasts above normal temperatures for the Upper Peninsula from October through the end of the year, along with above normal precipitation.