High waves along Michigan lakeshore once again prompt erosion and flooding concerns

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High waves, captured in this image from Aug. 28, 2019,{ } are sparking erosion concerns along the Lake Michigan lakeshore.{ } West MIchigan lakeshore communities have seen unusually high rates of erosion throughout 2019. (WWMT/Randi Burns)

West Michigan's lakeshore has endured pounding waves all year thanks to high water levels in Lake Michigan. With high winds expected through the Thanksgiving holiday, the lakeshore is threatened again with concerns for flooding and beach, dune and bluff erosion.

On Wednesday morning, Nov. 27, 2019, The National Weather Service office in Grand Rapids reported wind gusts approaching 50 mph, while a few areas experienced stronger wind gusts.

The weather service office issued several warnings and watches across West Michigan as a result of the strong winds and high waves.

Along the lakeshore, several flood warnings were issued for Berrien, Van Buren, Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana counties. These warnings are in place and are set to expire at 4 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Waves with this system are expected to reach between 10 and 15 feet along West Michigan's lakeshore.

The National Weather Service said, "Significant beach erosion and flooding along the lakeshore is expected. Roads along the lakeshore may be flooded. Power outages are possible."

Shoreline residents should take action to protect property. People near the shore should remain alert for rising water and be ready to move to higher ground if necessary.

The weather service office also mentioned on its website that the strong winds and large waves will be comparable or worse than the two wind events in October. That will likely create lakeshore flooding and dune erosion.

The large waves are a result of the abnormally strong winds West Michigan experienced Wednesday. Due to the strong winds, a high wind warning was issued for Wednesday and was scheduled to expire at 9 p.m. the same day.

The counties in the high wind warning were Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch. Winds gusts in excess of 60 mph were predicted.

Fallen tree limbs might block roadways and cause power outages as a result of the strong winds. High profile vehicles might become difficult to operate, especially on north to south roadways.

Drivers should use extra caution while driving, especially when traveling on north to south roads. Everyone should maintain a supply of non-perishable food, extra batteries, and sources of light at home, in case of a power outage.

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