Lake Michigan Continues to Rise, Damaging Property and Infrastructure Along the Way

A tide that began to rise in 2019 hasn't receded, according to local sources along Lake Michigan.

July 20, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

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Keith Matheny reports from the shores of Lake Michigan, where homeowners are watching the waters rise at an alarming rate, encroaching on property and requiring some homeowners to demolish their homes and relocate.

"Though the high water that was coming in 2020 could be seen as far back as last fall, when the typical annual receding never happened, and many were better prepared for what was coming than last year, high water impacts this spring and summer have been just as widespread and severe as 2019, if not worse," reports Matheny, citing state authorities from three states. 

"Lake elevation records continue to be broken, a trend that will continue at least on connected Lakes Michigan and Huron into fall."

It isn't just private property owners facing the consequences of rising waters. The Michigan Department of Transportation has spent $5 million on emergency repairs related to high water this spring and summer.

Matheny provides dispatches from Lathe, in Ottawa County Michigan and Detroit to illustrate the widespread effect of the rising waters—in a dry year, no less. Long-term fixes for MDOT to address long-term high water would require more like $100 million, according to Brad Wieferich, director of MDOT's Bureau of Development, who is cited in the article.

Friday, July 17, 2020 in Detroit Free Press

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