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Gale, flood warnings, severe thunderstorm watch issued for Michigan

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Gale warnings have been issued for Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair,  while a severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for mid- and western Michigan until Monday morning.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch until 3 a.m. Monday for most of mid-Michigan, from the Thumb area to the east, to Traverse City to the west.

Meanwhile, sustained southern winds up to 31 knots and gusts to 36 knots around 12 a.m. Sunday are expected for portions of Lake Huron, and waves will reach heights of 10 feet with a maximum wave height of 14 feet expected around 2 a.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Any boats and freighters on the water face potential capsizing and damage, it said.

"People and ships should remain in dock and other big freights should adjust their routes," said Steven Freitag, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It can be life threatening." 

On Lake St. Clair, a gale warning remains until 10 a.m. Monday. Sustained winds up to 27 knots from the south with gusts up to 36 knots are expected. The largest waves will reach 3 feet with a potential for 4 feet.

Maximum winds and waves are expected around 2 a.m. Monday.

A gale warning also is in place for Inner Saginaw Bay southwest of Point Au Gres to Bay Port and Outer Saginaw Bay southwest of  Alabaster to Port Austin to Inner Saginaw Bay.

Meanwhile, a lake shore flood warning is in effect from 10 p.m. Sunday to 10 a.m. Monday for St. Clair and Macomb counties. Road, low-lying property, parking lots, lawns, homes and businesses "will be inundated near the lake," the weather service said.

"Some shoreline erosion will occur," it said as south to southwest winds of 15-25 mph with gusts over 35 mph develop over Lake St. Clair late Sunday into Monday morning.

"This will raise the levels of the northern half of the lake, affecting locations from Harrison Township to Anchor Bay to Harsens Island," the weather service said.

As the fall season approaches, gale warnings will become more common, Freitag said, with warnings being issued every three to five days. This is due to the lakes' water remaining warm with cooler air masses and strong cold fronts moving over them, he said.

"That's why we have these headlines on and give people plenty of time before they head out," he said.