NEW BUFFALO — Dry land was in short supply at the Lake Michigan shore in New Buffalo on Thursday, June 13.
A combination of strong winds off Lake Michigan, heavy rains, and high water levels in both the Galien River and the big lake flooded large areas of the public beach and forced enough of the river onto Whittaker Street below the bridge to force its closure for much of the day (see photos on this page).
New Buffalo Parks Director Kristen D’Amico said at its highest point the flood waters had reached half-way under the city’s new playground equipment (although nothing was damaged) with waves washing up into the parking lot.
“We just had a big mess that we’re still cleaning up,” she said on Monday, June 17.
There was still some water on the nearby road and the former shore between river and beach had been transformed into a lagoon with a sandy peninsula populated by geese.
“I don’t expect it to recede anytime soon,” D’Amico said, adding that lake levels are up more than a foot from last year.
“What we need is for it to get really hot and evaporate some water,” she said.
The high-water event of June 13 also had an effect on boat docks in the nearby harbor, with facilities such as Peninsula 2 in the Moorings submerged save for some protuding storage lockers and benches.
Although the situation was especially dire that day, many local boat slips have been flooded out all season so far, forcing some boaters to seek other options.
D'Amico noted on June 17 that most of the slips in the city's municipal marina were underwater as well in the wake of the high-water event.