Throughout the city, lakefront residents and beachgoers are noticing that their favorite spots along the lake are looking a lot different than they did in recent years. This is because Lake Michigan's water level has risen dramatically in the last few years, and could even approach record levels by the end of the summer, DNAinfo and the Chicago Tribune report. According to reports, Lake Michigan has risen four feet since January 2013, a point where it was at a record low. The rising lake has been swallowing up beaches and has accelerated erosion in the last couple of years, causing the closure of some beaches and part of the recently overhauled Northerly Island.
Lake Michigan's rising water level is largely attributed to the extreme weather the city has witnessed since 2012. Chicago was frozen over by polar vortices two winters in a row, and then last summer, an El Niño weather pattern brought a higher than usual amount of rainfall on the Great Lakes region. However, the lake is expected to continue rising over the summer and could even be one foot short of the record set in 1986. Currently, Lake Michigan is about 15 inches higher than the average for this time of the year.