The Great Lakes Cruising Club (GREAT group and great site!) posts a Detroit News article about projections for this year's water levels, and they aren't looking good. All the big winter storms that at the time seemed great that they were passing over, turns out missing out on them means missing out on valuable precipitation. Even with a colder start to winter, meaning more ice cover sooner that would act as a tarp to stop winter evaporation, the lack incoming precipitation is looking to be too great. Here is the prognosis:
Without a significant increase in precipitation through the rest of winter and the spring, the Army Corps is predicting: Lake Superior's waters will be a foot to 14 inches below normal.
Lake Michigan/Huron will be 21 inches below normal.
Lake Erie will be five to six inches below normal.
Lake Ontario will be six to eight inches below normal.
In addition, Lake St. Clair will also likely be at least six inches under its historical average.
These lower lake levels do not bode well for boaters, not only adjusting the lines at docks, but obviously being more careful in shallow waters. 21 inches is quite a drop, and I can think of many areas (North Channel, anyone?) where there will be significantly less navigable water if these numbers hold. Heck, even Oyster Bay's 'anchorable' area will be considerably smaller, with a more 'ribs' from the wrecks sticking up.
We have seen some crazy predictions about the changing environment. Mother Nature is definitely a hard thing to predict, and these numbers sound a little doomsday to me. I certainly hope we dont see drops this big, otherwise I predict a lot of kedging going on!