High waves on Lake Michigan provided quite a spectacle on Thursday in the Chicagoland area, and one of the driving forces behind that show of force is record-high water levels on the lake.
According to the National Weather Service, Lake Michigan’s water level is at an average of 581.7 feet, which is more than four feet higher than normal and 13 inches higher than it was at this time in 2018.
That level is a new record for the month of June, the NWS said, and is even higher than the near-record level that it reached in the month of May.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, water levels are at their highest mark in over 20 years, over two feet higher than the average peak in the summers of 2012 and 2013.
To put it in perspective, there are nearly 10 trillion additional gallons of water in Lake Michigan as a result of the higher water levels.
According to the Weather Service, major winter snowfalls and high amounts of rain during the spring have contributed to the higher water levels. Lake Superior and Lake Erie both hit record levels in the month of May, with Lake Erie recording its highest ever water level, flooding beaches in southeastern Michigan and in New York.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told The Washington Post water levels on the Great Lakes could see additional rises over the month of June.
Residents can track water levels on the Great Lakes on the NOAA water level database.