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El Niño Unlikely To Have Huge Effect On Great Lakes Water Levels This Season

Other Factors, Like Climate Patterns In Arctic, Could Have More Of An Impact

Howard Ignatius (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Federal agencies say the warmer winter meteorologists are predicting this year may only trigger a limited change to water levels in lakes Michigan and Superior.

The National Weather Service has said the Great Lakes region can expect an El Niño weather pattern this winter, which means above-normal temperatures are likely. Precipitation may also be slightly below normal.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says over the next six months, water levels in both Lake Superior and the connected lakes Michigan and Huron should be above long-term averages, but a little below this past year. The Corps’ Keith Kompoltowicz says El Niños usually only have a limited impact on the lakes.

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“El Niño does give us some idea of what to expect, but it’s not the only signal that’s out there,” he said.

The National Weather Service said other key factors affecting Great Lakes water levels include what’s happening over the Arctic, which will also affect a large chunk of the U.S.