Seiche Causes Damage, Closes Manistee Riverwalk Access

Manistee and Ludington witnessed a seiche event.

Meaning massive fluctuations in water levels in lakes, rivers and channels along the lake Michigan shoreline.

“It was crazy, I have never seen anything like it before. It was almost like a tsunami,” says Nick Williams, lives in Manistee.

We got a glimpse of the seiche in the Manistee River.

The sea walls and river banks saw waters rise quickly and then within minutes, recede.

“We observed probably 8 to 10 feet of elevation change in the water levels where the water surge came to the top,” says Jeff Mikula, director of Manistee Department of Public Works.

But it caused some damage along the Manistee River.

“There all kinds of damage from erosion to shoreline structures, docks, we can see debris floating in river itself, we have crews our assessing that,” says Mikula.

Crews were out Friday assessing damage, and will continue to.

For now they have closed off the river walk and multiple boat launches.

Luckily water levels have subsided.

“It’s pretty crazy, I wouldn’t want to see what it looks like if there were boats in the channel,” says Williams.

The seiche also hit Ludington.

Photographer Todd Reed captured before and after photos of the phenomenon.

For him, this storm was inspiration.

“I always love phenomenons on Lake Michigan, people ask us what do we like to shoot and we say storms are our number one thing, so I love storms and I love to be in the teeth of storms,” says Reed.