SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Massive waves have been pummeling the Lake Michigan shoreline and high water levels are amplifying its intensity.

The winds caused flooding over sections of North Beach in South Haven.

Don Dobbin came to see the water for himself and had trouble keeping balance because of the strong winds.

“I’ve never seen it like this ever,” Dobbin said. “I don’t think the city can do anything at this point. The water is just so high. The waves come in they go over the beach.”

Dawn Hinz with South Haven Area Emergency Services is reminding people to stay off the pier.

south haven north beach flood
Lake Michigan pushes up toward homes along South Haven’s North Beach on March 6, 2020.

“I’ve been a firefighter here for 12 years,” Hinz said. “I’ve never seen the water levels this high, and I’ve never seen the flooding this bad.”

Waves covered South Haven’s North Pier throughout the day.

The road next to the beach had to be blocked off to keep people from driving through.

“You don’t know what the condition of that road is under the water,” Hinz said. “It could be washed away.”

The water went up to the protective walls of some of the homes and into the lower level garage of a home near the channel.

Tom Dryer knows the family who owns the home with a flooded garage.

“How can you control something like that? It’s like a hurricane or tornado or anything like that, but all you do is sit back and watch it and hope it doesn’t affect you,” Dryer said.

Emergency responders are reminding people that rescue may not be possible when conditions are this extreme.

“Stay off the piers, the water is washing over the piers, if you go out there you will be washed in and that water is extremely cold,” Hinz said. “Your body is going to shut down very quickly.”

The water level is expected to rise at least into the summer, which means this type of flooding could become more common.


Rising Waters