Great Lakes High Water Levels - No Relief In Sight

Feb 7, 2020

In this Jan. 14, 2020, photo, Rita Alton stands next to her house on the edge of a cliff overlooking Lake Michigan near Manistee, Mich. When her father built the 1,000-square-foot, brick bungalow in the early 1950s, more than acre of land lay between it and the drop-off overlooking the water. But erosion has accelerated dramatically as the lake approaches its highest levels in recorded history, hurling powerful waves into the mostly clay bluff.
Credit AP Photo/John Flesher

  

MANISTEE, Mich. (AP) — High water levels are wreaking havoc in the Great Lakes. The five inland seas are bursting at the seams during the region's wettest period in more than a century, which scientists say is likely connected to the warming climate.

And no relief is in sight. Forecasters expect the lakes to remain high well into 2020. Homes and businesses are flooding, roads and sidewalks are crumbling and beaches are washing away.

Homeowners and agencies are extending battered seawalls, constructing berms and piling stones and sandbags. Some are elevating houses or moving them farther inland. Less than a decade ago, the Great Lakes had the opposite problem: levels were at record lows. Experts say these abrupt swings may continue as global warming brings more extreme storms and droughts.