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Storms in forecast could boost high Lake Erie levels

Lake Erie [Elizabeth Miller/ideastream]

High water levels in Lake Erie this summer have far surpassed last year’s – and rain in the forecast this weekend threatens even higher lake levels.  

By this time of year, Lake Erie usually reaches its peak water level, beginning a seasonal decline with drier conditions. 

But this year has been a rare one -- Lake Erie was about 20 inches above its long term precipitation average. Lake levels of all five Great Lakes are higher this year than they were a year ago.  

With intermittent storms forecast for the next week, Lake Erie may be closer to reaching record highs.

Keith  Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Detroit office, says the high water can lead to structural damage.

"Folks that own property along the lakes may be concerned about increased erosion, increased instances of coastal flooding," said Kompoltowicz.

Lake Ontario this year reached the highest level in the 99 years that the Army Corps has tracked the statistic.  The New York state legislature recently approved a $55 million aid package to cities and towns bordering the lake hit by flooding.

Over on Lake Erie, Geneva State Park 50 miles east from Cleveland rerouted a bike path that runs along the shoreline after a section eroded into the lake.