Manistee Conservation District Looks Ahead at Lake Michigan Water Levels for 2020

Bill Parsons raised his family in Arcadia, but now the place that he has called home for so long is calling out for help.

Lake Michigan’s rising water levels are posing big problems for homeowners like Bill.

“We have expended 5 to 6 hours—each one of us—each day for the entire summer pumping water out of our basement,” Parsons says.

The Manistee Conservation District held an informational meeting on Friday to give community members a look into the future. They say Lake Michigan’s levels don’t seem to be getting any lower.

National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Bak says he expects Lake Michigan to be a foot higher this spring compared to last year. He also said that 2020 could be the wettest year Michigan has ever seen.

“At this point, it still looks like we’ll be starting out high and continuing on from there,” Bak says.

He also says that there are multiple factors that contribute to the fluctuating levels.

“There’s lots of things to consider as far as how much ice cover we end up with this winter…We’ve had a lot of heavy rain over the last several years and that’s been a contributing factor,” Bak says.

That has community members like Bill Parsons looking to lawmakers for help.

Parsons says, “I’d like to see Washington, to see Lansing, assign some funding to help folks. In this particular case it all comes out of our hide.”

Bak says if temperatures stay where they are, large waves could impact and wash away beaches and dunes for the rest of the winter months.