Washed Away: Strong wind, high waves pummel Michigan shoreline

Washed Away: Strong wind, high waves pummel Michigan shoreline

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. - Rough and high waters on Lake Michigan are further eroding the shoreline. It’s a problem ABC57 news has stayed on top of since it started happening.

More and more homes on Lake Michigan are being affected by large waves and erosion.

We’ve had continuous coverage of the situation on the shoreline and spoke to countless people affected.

Residents previously telling us their stories, “over the years we could just see the hills falling in,” and “We’ve lost a third of our stairs and probably ten feet of our dune.”

Thursday is no different. The shoreline is getting hammered with no signs of improvement.

6 to 10-foot waves forecasted Thursday morning, Thursday afternoon a little bit less but the results are all the same.

“What I’ve noticed this year in comparison to other years is that this year we have a lack of ice, and to me, that’s why we have such an erosion problem this year specifically is because there’s nothing to stop the waves from coming ashore,” Kathy Vawter, one resident said.

It’s turned into a spectacle many in the area come to watch.

“I like to come down to Lake Michigan,” Vawter said. “Watch the waves, look at all the erosion; it seems to be a lot.”

“It’s been serious you know, lately the water levels have been going up I noticed,” Stephen Meier said.

“So much erosion, so much,” Lonnie Martin said. “And if you look up at this house right here, his back steps that used to go out to the beach go right into the water.”

Martin lives in St. Joseph, Michigan but owns a home up north on the shoreline, but because of the ongoing erosion problems, he said “Homes across the street are losing property every day.”

So they haven’t seen many buyers.

“It makes us nervous that it’s not selling,” he said.

When asked how long his house had been on the market he said, “it’s been over a year.”

Many in town just want their beaches back.

“I mean it’s going to hurt tourism. There are a lot of Illinois people here that own summer homes. If there’s no beach there’s just no place for them to go,” Martin said.

But residents say they are hopeful.

“The levels come and go you know, maybe in a few years it might go back to what it was before,” Meier said.

“I am hoping the county is able to get some assistance to stop what has become a nice place for a lot of people to come and enjoy the lake,” Vawter said.

It’s hard to see the effect of these large waves until its calm again. In a couple days when we can really see the shore, is when we can see how bad the erosion is.

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