Sandbags handed out as wind, waves eat at lakeshore

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Communities along the lakeshore are preparing for yet another loss of land as heavy wind and waves battered the shoreline Monday.

“When we do get big storms, we’re always worried about things like power outages, but with these higher water levels, when those big winds come in, it kind of pushes a surge toward the coast here and it’s like a big bath tub leaning over,” Grand Haven City Manager Patrick McGinnis said.

To prepare, the city deployed hundreds of sandbags Monday. It gave many out to property owners and provided them with sand. It also placed sandbags around city infrastructure in flood zones like the Grand Haven Municipal Marina.

“It could be quite threatening to things along the waterfront and we’re just ready to do the best we can and clean up if it does come over our breakwall along the pier,” McGinnis said.

Coho Drive and Harbor Island Drive are two other areas the city says it is watching closely. It says they are more likely to see impacts from the elements.

“Our community is sort of built to withstand being near the water naturally but nowadays with historically high (water) levels, we’re at a point now where’s it’s the highest recorded in history. So we’re not quite used to where we’re at now,” McGinnis said.

The city originally had plans to elevate some roadways prone to flooding but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things are on hold. 

“It just kind of threw us for a loop and what was our most urgent thing became our second most urgent important thing,” McGinnis said.

City leaders say they plan to pick things up after the pandemic is under control.

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