Flooding Threats As Spring Weather Arrives Says Conservation Authority


The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority (SSMRCA) is advising that Lake Superior water levels remain well above normal. There are observations, reports, or expectations of shoreline erosion or flooding currently.

Lake Superior water levels are above record-highs for this time of year as wet conditions persisted across the upper Great Lakes basin in January. All the Great Lakes are near or above record-highs for this time of year, there is an exceptional volume of water in the system. Water levels are expected to remain high over at least the next several months and further record-highs are possible if wet conditions continue in 2020. As a result, there will continue to be a significantly increased risk of shoreline erosion, lakeshore flooding and coastal damages over the next several weeks and into the spring.

Currently, Lake Superior water levels are approximately 183.63 m IGLD85. Lake Superior declined 6 cm over the course of the month, while on average the water level declines 7 cm in January. At the beginning of February, Lake Superior was 1 cm above the record-high beginning-of-month level set in 1986. The level is currently 38 cm above average (1918 – 2019) and 10 cm above its level of a year ago. For additional reference, the SSMRCA shoreline flooding hazard level used for planning and development review is 184.2 m
SSMRCA advises all shoreline property owners to prepare for potentially severe coastal impacts such as significant erosion, flooding and other public safety hazards, especially during periods of strong winds and high waves.

SSMRCA staff continue to monitor Lake Superior wind conditions and lake levels closely.
This statement is in effect until (or updated before) March 20, 2020.