Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dear Mother Nature: Please send rain and snow this winter

Dear Mother Nature: Please Send rain and snow this winter

With water levels at an all time low- navigational challenges loom everywhere for recreational and commercial boats

By: Lou Sandoval
December 5, 2012

It is very noticeable in Chicago as you walk down the lakefront and see water marks indicating the water level heights from years past.  In some areas the marks extend two, sometimes three feet above the current water levels.  A stark indication of how far down levels have dropped.  This is consistent on the Michigan, Wisconsin , Illinois and Indiana shores of Lake Michigan. 

Lay publications have written stories about how this drought filled summer of 2012 and unseasonably warm Winter of 2011 help set the stage for record lows.  (Chicago Tribune Story: October19, 2012).  Add to this the unseasonably warm weather as of late and you have the makings of a record setting Winter of 2012. 

We were casually reminded  just this week as the mercury reached a high of 75 on Monday December 3rd.  Visitors from warmer climates, such as California or Florida have commented on how much warmer it is in Chicago as compared to their home states.

The enclosed video from ABC affiliate WZZM-13 in Michigan speaks of islands forming off the coast of Saugatuck, MI.  Calling the situation a 'disaster', one that not even frequent dredging can remedy.  It has boaters of all kinds- commercial and recreational bracing themselves for a Spring shocker should this trend continue through out the upcoming Winter.

Marina operators and the commercial boating industry are the hardest hit as state funds run dry.  Reeling from the deficit laden budgets of the recent recession.  The trend has many marine professionals concerned about what the future will bring.

One thing is sure, if history is correct- this all comes in cycles and hopefully we are seeing the worst.  Only time will tell.

Additional Reading:

Dry summer helps push Lake Michigan water levels to near-record lows-Chicago Tribune

Drought drops Lake Michigan water to near record low-Chicago Tribune

Boating experts call low-water levels a disaster-Video WZZM-13 report

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