MI - Impacts of high water levels on Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan water levels have been a major problem for a few years now, and anyone that lives on or near our lakeshore knows first-hand how bad this problem is.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Lake Michigan water levels have been a major problem for a few years now, and anyone that lives on or near our lakeshore knows first-hand how bad this problem is.

Last year we had high record-breaking Lake Michigan water levels, and now at this point of the year Lake Michigan water levels have dropped by more than a foot. City officials are still on high alert and know they are not in the clear.

A problem years in the making that will take years to fix, plus millions of dollars in repairs. Lake Michigan, which so many Michiganders love, continues to cause devastating coastal erosion. Deanna Apps with the US Army Corps of Engineers says last year Lake Michigan and Lake Huron set record high water levels January through August, but this year we have seen water levels drop.

If we go in depth, we find that Lake Michigan water levels were down about 14 inches below last April’s monthly mean but still above averageby 22 inches from for normal April water levels. Now in May, water levels have continued to drop 4 more inches, and overall they are still 18 inches above normal levels. In other words, we aren’t out of the woods yet, and erosion damage can still be done.

"The risk for that those that coastal impact of shoreline, erosion, and flooding is definitely less," says Deanna Apps, Detroit district US Army Corps of Engineers physical scientist, "but it's still possible, especially as if we get an active storm or that moves through and we see large winds, and that could cause some increased wave action."

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