Lakeshore flooding, gale warnings on tap for Metro Detroit, state

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — The National Weather Service issued lakeshore flood and gale warnings Monday for the counties along lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron.

"A strengthening low pressure system that's entering the Minnesota-Lake Superior area is driving a lot of the weather we're seeing today and for the middle of the week," said Andrew Arnold, a meteorologist at the weather service's White Lake Township office. 

Gale-force winds on Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay have caused water to erode and collapse the parking area at West End Beach in Traverse City, seen on Oct. 16.

Monday's forecast for Metro Detroit calls for rain with a high of 66 degrees and a low of 51. Light scattered showers and wind gusts are expected to remain through Tuesday.  It is expected to turn sunny Wednesday with showers possible as the workweek ends.

Most of the state will have to contend with lakeshore flooding and gusty winds.

Waves of 4-6 feet and higher in some areas, are expected in the waters off Huron County, according to the weather service. Waves of 1-3 feet are expected over Lake St. Clair in the waters off of Sanilac County. 

A flood advisory is in place for Huron and Sanilac counties until midnight Tuesday, the White Lake office said. A flood warning is in place for Macomb and St. Clair counties from 10 a.m. Tuesday until midnight Wednesday.

For counties along Lake Superior, the weather service in Marquette issued a lakeshore flood warning for at 5 p.m. until midnight. The warning means flooding along the lakeshore will occur, potentially flooding nearby homes and roads as well as eroding the shoreline.

It also issued a gale warning until 11 p.m. that covers Marquette to Munising to Grand Marais. A gale warning means sustained winds with speeds of 39-55 per hour are imminent or occurring.

Lake Michigan counties are under a lakeshore flood warning issued in Grand Rapids office from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. Wednesday. The office also issued a gale warning in effect until 8 a.m. Wednesday.

High winds, especially along and near the Lake Michigan shoreline where gusts exceeding 50 mph have already been reported, Roger Morgenstern, media relations at Consumers Energy said. The Jackson-based utility reported 331 outages impacting 14,573 people throughout its coverage area, including west Michigan, at 3:25 p.m. on Oct. 21.

"High winds and thunderstorms are expected across Lower Michigan through Monday evening and into early Tuesday, likely causing additional outages," Morgenstern said. "Our crews are ready to respond quickly and safely to restore power."

Je'well Pearson, senior communications strategist with DTE, said the electricity utility didn't have any weather incidents at 3:55 p.m. on Monday.

Erosion along Lake Huron has left some homes, like this one in Port Sanilac, with no beach and lawn being eaten up by rising water levels

Closer to home, the agency's White Lake office issued a lakeshore flood warning for Huron, Sanilac and St. Clair counties from 11 a.m. to midnight. Four to 6 foot waves are likely, especially off the tip of the Thumb into outer Saginaw Bay, it said.

It also issued a gale warning, which expires at 4 a.m. Tuesday. Parts of southeast Michigan could see winds of 25-35 miles per hour, according to the service. 

"The east winds are driving some of the water in Lake Huron on the shores of the eastern Thumb and that's causing the lakeshore flooding concerns," Arnold said. "The wind direction will change towards the south, so it's going off shore instead of on shore."

Still, he said, gusts of about 30 miles per hour will be possible Tuesday and Wednesday.

Morgenstern urged residents to stay at least 25 feet away from downed electric lines and to report the downed line by calling 9-1-1 and Consumers Energy at (800) 477-5050.

He also warned to never use a generator in an attached garage, basement, enclosed patio or near air intakes. Hazardous levels of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless and deadly gas, could be generated in those areas, Morgenstern said.

Consumers Energy customers can access outage data at the Consumers Energy Outage Center website.

Extended Detroit forecast

Tuesday: Mostly sunny; high 55, low 43.

Wednesday: Mostly sunny; high 56, low 46.

Thursday: Partly sunny; high 60, low 42.

Friday: Mostly cloudy; high 52, low 37.

Saturday: Sunny; high 53, low 42.

Sunday: Mostly sunny; high 58.

Staff Writer Evan Carter contributed to this report.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez