NOAA water level forecasting

Weather events such as storms and high winds can cause Great Lakes water level changes on short timescales – on the order of days or even hours. NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) provides critical notifications to the public to help protect life and property in the event of lakeshore flooding on the Great Lakes. NOAA NWS also forecasts changes in river levels based on observations and forecast models from the Great Lakes region’s three NOAA NWS River Forecast Centers. Stay updated on NOAA’s Great Lakes weather watches, warnings, and advisories with the National Weather Service Great Lakes Portal, and access NOAA’s Great Lakes Weather Forecast Offices and River Forecast Centers below.

NOAA also operates the Great Lakes Operational Forecast System (GLOFS), a model-based system that provides predictions of water levels, water currents and water temperatures in the Great Lakes. GLOFS was developed by NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) and is operated by NOAA CO-OPS. NOAA GLERL conducts ongoing research to improve NOAA’s modeling and forecasting capabilities, and operates an experimental version of the forecast system in near-real time.

NOAA’s development of hydrologic models to predict large-scale, seasonal water level changes in the Great Lakes dates back to the mid-1990s. The latest version of this model system, the Great Lakes Seasonal Hydrological Forecasting System (GLSHFS), is now operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is used as the basis for their six-month Great Lakes water level forecasts.