Steady Rain and Strong Winds Flood Clinch Park in Traverse City

Water levels are noticeably higher at Clinch Park in Traverse City, where the public boat launch is underwater.

Strong winds and steady rains have brought flooding here at the public boat launch and it’s rippling throughout the park. 

“Just keep in mind that we have no control over Mother Nature,” said Clinch Park Marina Dock master, Barry Smith.

It’s arguably the most popular summer beach spot in downtown Traverse City and a popular place for people to enjoy the view on their lunch break.

“We were blown away when we saw how much water had risen up. We had to come check it out,” said Hollie Anderson of Suttons Bay.

It was popular all day today, with people driving in to Clinch Park to get a closer look.

“The seiche can raise the water level 12 to 14 inches within half an hour. It’s remarkable to see the change this rapidly,” said Randy Chapman of Traverse City.

Rainfall all night and this morning only add to the problems, not just the flooded boat ramp but the water running uphill into the parking lot. It’s been a washout at the kayak rental spot, and even the sand at Clinch Park beach has been covered by the rolling waves. At the other end, waves pouring over the break wall.

It’s not a record but it is getting close and in fact the dock master at Clinch Park Marina tells us it’s the highest he has seen since they built the new marina back in 2002.

“The levels could increase three or four more inches more by July and at that point we should see things taper off,” explained Smith.

The Parks Department is watching water levels and watching the calendar as the summer tourism season is creeping closer, just like the water.

“Of course the shrinking beaches makes for some smaller areas, so when you have a lot of people coming into town, kind of taking a look at from all the different angles,” said Derek Melville, TC Parks and Rec Superintendent.

Water coming across the road which is from a storm drain that typically drains from the marina into the bay is now working in the opposite direction.