Damaging Water Events – Meteotsunami Vs. Seiche

Damaging water phenomena, such as meteotsunami and seiche events, occur rarely. However, they are nonetheless incredibly impactful to Northern Michigan.

As many of you recall, a high water event damaged areas around Manistee, Ludington, and Pentwater last year. The event, a meteotsunami, occurred on April 13, 2018.

Since meteotsunami events occur very rarely, the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids discussed it at a meeting on Thursday.

Pictures from Debbi Maglothin show how much the water came and went at Ludington.

Manistee is still working to get their problems fixed before the busy summer season.

At first, the idea was the water rise and fall was a Seiche. But Bob Dukesherer of the National Weather Service says it actually was a Meteotsunami.

A Seiche is slow moving and slushes the water around, like in a bathtub. A Meteotsunami is smaller and focused from the main line of storms or gravity wave. And a Meteotsunami can create a Seiche.

Lake depth and speed of a storm are keys to creating a Meteotsunami. The good news is the depth of Northern Lake Michigan makes events like this rare.