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Lake Superior hits highest April level in 16 years

DULUTH -- The level of Lake Superior keeps rising, and it started this month 2 inches above the long-term normal and 14 inches above the level at this time last year.

The big lake rose 4 inches in April, a month it usually rises by 3 inches. The lake’s monthly average for April was the highest since 1998, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The increase is expected to continue through at least May, officials said Friday, with water supplies to the lake well above normal. That means more rain and snow, more water flowing in from rivers and less water evaporating, probably in part because of an unusually broad cover of ice.

The extra water is helping lakes Huron and Michigan, too. Those lakes rose 8 inches in April, double the usual rise for the month.

The level of the Great Lakes is considered important for shipping and recreational boating, which have been plagued in recent years by unusually low water levels. Some iron ore producers have said they hope to load larger shipments of taconite this summer in Great Lakes freighters because of the higher water levels.

Unusually high levels can be a problem as well, especially for increased erosion.

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