SOUTH HAVEN — South Haven city officials shut down their municipal marinas just in the nick of time Tuesday, because by Wednesday morning high winds and waves from Lake Michigan caused significant flooding in the harbor. Throughout much of the morning, only the dock poles could be seen at the South Side marina and water had risen all the way to the marina’s office building.
“We close our marinas and turn off the electricity on Oct. 15 each year,” Harbor Master Kate Hosier said. “We choose that day because that’s when the weather starts to get bad.”
Some boats were still docked at some of the marinas when the high winds hit.
“We’ve been calling boaters to let them know they need to remove their boats,” Hosier said.
Beaches in town didn’t fare much better Wednesday.
As 10-15 foot waves crashed into the lighthouse, they kept the piers hidden from view, as well. South Beach, which lost much of its sand to high water levels earlier this summer, lost even more. At times what is left of the beach lay under a pool of water that stretched all the way to the parking lot.
Because of the high water levels some sections of roads near beaches and the Black River were temporarily closed Wednesday. Those roadways included the south end of North Shore Drive by Ellen Avery Park, the southern edge of Lakeshore Drive by the North Pier and a section of Dunkley Avenue.
“We’re seeing flooding that we haven’t seen all summer,” Hosier said. “But we’re looking at 40-50 miles per hour winds and 10-15 waves.”
The windy weather prompted the National Weather Service to issue a hazardous weather warning Wednesday for portions of Southwest Michigan to warn of significant beach and dune erosion, minor flooding of roadways and parking lots near the lakeshore and scatter power outages and tree damage.
The warning was issued for Wednesday only.