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Great Lakes on the Rise

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Great Lakes are expected to stay within two to 16 inches of their long-term averages next year. This is a vast improvement from a year ago, when lake levels had hit their lowest point in recorded history.

Water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are already on the rebound, and with a wet winter and spring, it's possible that Lake Superior could rise above its long-term average — something that hasn't happened for nearly a decade and a half.

The historically low water levels of last January occurred in the wake of a dry winter and spring in 2012, followed by record heat and drought that summer and fall. The very wet conditions last winter and spring sparked a 20-inch rise in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, one of the highest seasonal rises in record.

In October, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron were 17 inches below their long-term averages, but about 11 inches above where they were a year ago. Lake Superior was about two inches below its long-term average in October, but 13 inches above last year.

Experts say it is difficult to project what will happen to lake water levels over the next two to 10 years, but they do not anticipate a threat of another record low in 2014.

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