Lake Superior level jumps 9 inches in May

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) – The level of Lake Superior jumped 9 inches in May, more than twice the normal monthly increase and the second most for any month since 1918, a new report said.

Lake Superior usually rises only about 4 inches each May. But thanks to late snow and a cold spring that held back runoff until ice and snow melted, May more than made up for the difference.

The lake now sits just 7 inches below its long-term average for June 1. It is a full 3 inches above the level at this time last year, the International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Friday.

Lakes Huron and Michigan also continued their rise from near-record lows in late winter. The lakes rose another 5 inches in May, compared with the usual 3 inches for the month.

The lakes remain 20 inches below the long-term average and 2 inches below the May 1 level of 2012. But Lakes Huron and Michigan are recovering from seasonal, winter lows at one of the fastest paces on record.

Improving lake levels are welcome not just for recreational boaters but also for the Great Lakes shipping industry. Many of the largest freighters have had to cross the lakes with less than full loads, increasing prices and energy use and raising costs for raw material shippers such as taconite plants.