Great Lakes
Photo: Brian Wells/Times Herald

Flooding, shoreline erosion remain concerns for St. Clair County residents

Algonac resident Kathy Nastase is preparing for the worst. In the face of rising water levels, she's moved everything in her garage on top of bricks to give a few extra inches of clearance. Her family has deployed sandbags and are keeping an eye on their sea wall.

"The situation is very concerning," she said.

Water levels in the southern part of the county have have stagnated, but officials are again warning that could change.

"They're holding steady but we do know the wind had some affect this weekend," St. Clair County Office of Homeland Security/Emergency Management Justin Westmiller said.

Waves lap from the St. Clair River over the boardwalk in Algoanc Monday, May 20, 2019.
Waves lap from the St. Clair River over the boardwalk in Algoanc Monday, May 20, 2019. (Photo: Brian Wells/Times Herald)

Westmiller said they remain concerned about property along the St. Clair River. He encouraged residents to take measures to protect their homes and property.  

"We're are running out of time and we need people to act quickly," Westmiller said.

As of Tuesday, the St. Clair River sat at about 577.4 feet above sea level, about the same point it had sat a week before, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The lakes the river links together could peak in late June or the beginning of July, according to projections by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lake Michigan-Huron could reach 581.3 feet above sea level later this summer, according to the projections. As of May 17, it sat at 577.5 feet above sea level, according to an Army Corps of Engineers report. That would put it about 8 inches over April, and 9 inches higher than May 17, 2018. This put it four inches below the highest recorded monthly average in 1986.

Water from the St. Clair River spills into a yard in Algonac Monday, May 20, 2019.
Water from the St. Clair River spills into a yard in Algonac Monday, May 20, 2019. (Photo: Brian Wells/Times Herald)

Lake St. Clair sat at 577.07 feet above sea level, per the May 17 report. It has already exceeded its highest recorded monthly average for May by 2 inches, set in 1986.

Clay Township Supervisor Artie Bryson said sandbags are available at the township fire department, adding that officials are preparing for the worst but praying for the best. He also urged residents to take action if they have not already.

"We're trying to get people to prepare their properties," he said.

A boat sits in a slip at River Street Marina Tuesday, May 21, 2019, next to a dock that is partially submerged in the Black River.
A boat sits in a slip at River Street Marina Tuesday, May 21, 2019, next to a dock that is partially submerged in the Black River. (Photo: Brian Wells/Times Herald)

Port Huron City Manager James Freed said the rising water levels will also affect the Black River and Black River canal. He said the city is not predicting issues in the canal district, but the water is high and some boats might not be able to fit under the canal gate. He said contractors are at work to raise marina docks that are going under water.

"Given the highly unusual snowfall and melt in the northern portion of the state our water levels will continue to rise," Freed wrote. "The lakeshore has already seen tremendous erosion issues. It will get worse."

St. Clair County Parks and Recreation Director Mark Brochu said Fort Gratiot County Park along Lake Huron and Woodsong County Park on the Black River will be the most affected by high water levels.  

Brochu said water levels submerged parts of Fort Gratiot County Park's beach in years past, but that water receded since then. But now the park has lost some beachfront again.

"Mother nature giveth and takes away," Brochu said.

Anyone looking for more information can go to https://www.bereadystclaircounty.org/flooding-2019

The surface of the Black River in Port Huron almost reaches the top of docks in River Street Marina Tuesday morning, May 21, 2019.
The surface of the Black River in Port Huron almost reaches the top of docks in River Street Marina Tuesday morning, May 21, 2019. (Photo: Brian Wells/Times Herald)

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Contact education reporter Jeremy Ervin at (810) 989-6276 or jervin@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @ErvinJeremy.

Flood Tips from Ready.gov

  • Do not drive, walk or swim through high water
  • Avoid bridges over fast moving water
  • Learn and practice evacuation routes and a plan for shelter
  • Have supplies ready ahead of time for family members and pets in case of evacuation
  • Consider purchasing a flood insurance policy
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container and create secure digital copies
  • Evacuate immediately if told to do so
  • If a vehicle is trapped in quickly moving water, stay inside. If water rises inside the vehicle, get on the roof.
  • If in a building, go to the highest level except for a closed attic. Go to the roof only if necessary
  • Return only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Beware of animals in one's home during cleanup
  • Be careful around electrical equipment, shut off power when possible and necessary


See Port Huron Times Herald article . . .