Ontario Independent

Thursday, June 30, 2022

An update on the water level of Lake Ontario is available

An update on Lake Ontario's water level is provided.

Key takeaways:

  • The current level of Lake Ontario is 13.4 inches higher than the long-term average (1918-2010) and 13.4 inches lower than the all-time high for this time of year.

Lake Ontario is currently 13.4 inches higher than the long-term average (1918-2020) and 13.4 inches lower than the all-time high for this time of year, set in 1945.

September to November 2021 was the third wettest fall in the total water supply to Lake Ontario. As a result, Lake Ontario’s water levels rose by the third-largest amount in October. The lake rose 3.1 inches rather than dropping an average of 4.33 inches, as is typical at that time of year.

Outflows in November were the sixth highest on record, and Lake Ontario water levels were the 13th highest on record. Between the beginning of September and the beginning of December, Lake Ontario rose 1.2 inches, while the average seasonal change is 11.4 inches.

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The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board maintains increased outflows through the Moses-Saunders Dam to restore Lake Ontario’s water level to where it would be if outflow deviations were not made earlier this year. 

Those earlier deviations below plan flows occurred during a period of drought in the region earlier this summer. Over the next few weeks, the ongoing offsetting deviations above plan flows should be completed.

The regulation plan currently prescribes extremely high outflows, the third-highest on record for this time of year in December, and these plan flows are higher than in December 2020. During the winter, the regulation plan will continue to prescribe high outflows.

An update on Lake Ontario's water level is provided.
An update on Lake Ontario’s water level is provided. Image from Physics World

“Outflow adjustments cannot fully control Great Lakes water levels, nor can they eliminate the risk of extreme water levels occurring during periods of very wet and/or very dry water supply conditions,” said David Harper, Canadian co-chair of the ILOSLRB. 

The Great Lakes’ natural water supply is unpredictable, so it’s critical to understand the full range of high and low water levels that have occurred in the past and may do so again in the future.

According to the board, weather forecasts, La Nia, and water supply conditions will all be closely monitored, and the outflow strategy will be evaluated regularly.

Source: CTV News

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