If current trends continue, Lakes Michigan and Huron will experience record low water levels this year—the shallowest since 1963. The two lakes, which are really one body of water connected by the Straits of Mackinac, are more than two feet below average levels and over a foot below 2011 levels, with a variety of factors to blame. Warmer winters mean less snowmelt and more evaporation, while drier summers mean less precipitation. Humans are playing a part too—heavy dredging in the St. Clair River has increased water flow from the Lakes to the Atlantic. Though lake levels are historically cyclical, ebbing and flowing through the decades, these conditions have been especially worrisome to Michigan residents, many of who pulled their docks early last year, if they put them in at all.
Photo by Adam Cort