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Lake Erie water levels high

With the amount of rainfall that Ohio has received this spring, the Lake Erie water levels continue to rise. Lake Erie water levels are currently at near record highs, will remain high and are anticipated to peak in the month of June. Lake levels will then begin to subside due to a normal seasonal decline, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

All of the Great Lakes are at near record highs due to increased precipitation across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Region. Lake Erie is 2.5 feet above long-term average water level for the month of May. The May 10, 2019, water level is 4 inches above the record highest average level for May, which occurred in 1986.

High water levels increase the chance of flooding in low-lying coastal areas, especially during wind-driven seiche events. The combination of waves and high water can cause severe coastal erosion during these events. Low-lying coastal areas, particularly along the western basin shoreline, will be subject to increased flooding and inundation. Along the entire Lake Erie shoreline, the combination of high water and waves may result in increased or catastrophic erosion during severe storm events.

Coastal property owners need to be aware of anticipated storm events and where there may be increased chances of coastal flooding or erosion. ODNR provides free on-site technical assistance to owners of property along Lake Erie by ODNR coastal engineers. We can provide recommendations for erosion mitigation and best management practices to prevent or slow coastal erosion. Call the ODNR Office of Coastal Management at 419-626-7980 to speak with a coastal engineer.

In addition to technical assistance, ODNR has instituted a Temporary Shore Structure Permit program, which is available to coastal property owners to protect their property from catastrophic erosion. The Temporary Shore Structure Permits allow coastal property owners to install emergency shore protection to prevent additional erosion-related damage. Permits are free of charge and are typically issued within a week.

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