Big Waves, Winds Pound Lake Michigan Coast, Erode Properties

WWJ News
October 17, 2019 - 3:33 pm

SOUTH HAVEN (WWJ/AP) - Property owners and local governments are assessing the damage from a day of relentless waves and high winds along Lake Michigan in western and northern Michigan.

The National Weather Service says winds speed exceeded 50 mph Wednesday up and down the coast. Waves crashed into piers and lighthouses, drawing spectators with cameras to see the spectacle.

According to the NWS in Grand Rapids, waves greater than 10 feet caused considerable beach and bluff erosion as well, with several reports of 10 feet or more of lost dune along the lakeshore in the past 24 hours. One of the biggest recorded was 11.9 ft. at around noon on Wednesday.

Near Grand Haven, homeowner Paul Griffeth says he's lost at least 80 feet of beach due to high water and rough weather. In Manistee, the Coast Guard station was cut off due to flooded roads. Karen Hudson, who has a condo near the water, says the lake is "angry."

Paul Swidorski, who works for an excavation company, says the amount of work this year is "off the charts" as property owners seek help to protect homes.

Tom Durant, a 76-year-old in South Haven, calls it a "once-in-a-lifetime thing."

It's been windy in metro Detroit as well; and WWJ AccuWeather Meteroligist Carl Erickson says that's what will bring in the cold Thursday night. 

A Freeze Warning is in effect from 2 a.m. until 8 a.m. Friday. for all of Southeast Michigan, with sub-freezing temperatures for several hours through sunrise.

"As we go into tonight, skies will clear out, the winds will subside, but we're all dipping down into the 30s tonight, even some low to mid-30s in the outlying areas; 37 in Detroit," Erickson said. "For tomorrow, after a chilly start, lots of sunshine and certainly less wind compared to today, so that will help out a bit with a high of 55." 

For the latest forecast, stay turned to WWJ Newsradio 950 during traffic and weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s. >>LISTEN LIVE!