Outflows from Lake Ontario break February record, water levels gradually improving

The average Lake Ontario outflow during the month of February was the highest in recorded history. Historical records start in 1900 and include outflows that occurred both prior to and since the beginning of regulation in 1960.

A stable ice cover in the St. Lawrence River allowed Plan 2014 to increase outflow under the ice and, as a result, Lake Ontario levels have fallen below those recorded at this time in 2017.

Plan 2014 continues to prescribe near-record outflows in response to above-average levels of both Lake Ontario and the upper Great Lakes. Following temporary flow reductions during the extreme cold weather at the start of the year that saw ice form quickly on the St. Lawrence River, outflows were quickly increased to the maximum level possible without causing flooding on Lake St. Louis near Montreal.

Currently, the water level of Lake Ontario is 74.96 meters (245.93 feet), which is 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) above average and 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) below last year. The level of Lake St. Louis near Montreal is now 54 centimeters (21.3 inches) above average and 26 centimeters (10.2 inches) above its level of a year ago.

Water levels on the upper Great Lakes, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are forecast to remain above average moving into the spring. As a result, Plan 2014 will continue to release high outflows, taking into consideration all interests throughout the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system.

Information on hydrologic conditions, water levels and outflows, including graphics and photos, are available here.

Maritime Editorial