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Great Lakes Water Level Slump Over, Future Unclear
Two unusually wet years have finally ended the lengthiest period on record of low Great Lakes water levels — a blessing for long-suffering cargo shippers and recreational boaters — although scientists said it's uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or heralds a trend.

Four of the giant lakes — Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie — were above their average monthly levels in November, while Lake Ontario was slightly below. In September, all five were simultaneously above average for the first time since the drop-off began in the late 1990s. A newly released forecast predicts little change over the next six months.

It's a dramatic and remarkably swift rebound from January 2013, when Michigan and Huron — which are linked and have the same level — reached their lowest point since the government began keeping records nearly a century earlier.

It is clear that the recent comeback was propelled by heavy rain and snow over the lakes themselves and within their watershed, which increased runoff from land. Last winter’s ice, which at one point covered more than 90 percent of the lakes' combined surface area, was a minor cause of the water level surge compared to the rain and snow that fell.


 
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