Scientists say water levels in the Great Lakes should remain mostly above average over the next six months as a powerful El Nino gives the region a break after two bitterly cold winters.
In a forecast released Thursday, federal agencies say the periodic warming of Pacific waters should bring above-normal temperatures, although there will be cold snaps. The region likely will get some snow, but not as much as in the past two years.
Those conditions are not expected to alter the usual pattern of water levels rising in spring, peaking in summer and declining in fall. This fall's drop-off may be smaller than usual because milder temperatures are reducing evaporation rates. But if there's less snow this winter, water levels might rise less than usual when spring comes.
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