TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- Two of the Great Lakes have hit their lowest water levels ever recorded.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that tests taken in January show that Lake Huron and Lake Michigan were at their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918.
The lakes were 29 inches below their long-term average and had declined 17 inches since January 2012. The other Great Lakes -- Superior, Erie and Ontario -- were also well below average.
Scientists say the drought and other natural forces, along with dredging of rivers that drain from the lakes, have contributed to the level drops.
Low water causes heavy economic losses by forcing cargo ships to carry lighter loads, leaving boat docks high and dry, and damaging fish spawning areas.