MARINETTE — In the face of last year’s incessant precipitation and severe flooding, exacerbated by the record high water levels across Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes, City of Marinette Mayor Steve Genisot reported that he began internal discussions with City Engineer Brian Miller and other department heads to address area water woes.

According to Genisot, those discussions seek to manage and remain vigilant regarding issues over last year’s inundation of heavy rains, Lake Michigan’s record high water levels and other active weather patterns that pushed across the area, contributing to many recent shoreline water invasions, erosion and other flooding throughout the area.  

More importantly, those discussion will also address the future. 

“We are going to start a meeting process with, hopefully, some council input,” Genisot said. “(We) will be starting a discussion about the future of flooding issues that the (City of Marinette) as well as many other cities throughout the state and the nation are dealing with.”

Information released from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week reported that the most recent six-month forecast shows a continuation of “well above average” water levels across all the Great Lakes.  Unlike 2019, the forecast also called for Lake Michigan to reach record high levels in 2020. The Army Corps of Engineers also announced last week that water levels on each of the Great Lakes entered 2020 with measurements already reaching higher than this same period last year.  (Also see SIDEBAR, “Area 2020 weather predictions”).

“It is likely that water levels on lakes Michigan and Huron will set new monthly mean record high levels over the next couple of months,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, Detroit District. “This sets the stage for coastal impacts and damages in 2020 similar to, or worse than, what was experienced last year.”  

The City of Marinette recently experienced such damaging impacts. Strong storm systems that closed out 2019 in November and December produced powerful gales, rain, substantial snow and ice. Gales pushed large waves into both Marinette and Menominee which lead to considerable and damaging flood waters, ice invasion and erosion along much of the shoreline. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, many areas along the Great Lakes’ coastlines have experienced similar damage.  

Through the process of continued discussions and vigilance, city officials aims to keep the city, its departments and its residents abreast of such future flooding issues.

“Hopefully, (these discussions) will help us get ahead of ice shoves and other (flooding) that may become an issue in the springtime,” Genisot said. “We are going to start that discussion and see what options we have for (forward) planning.” (Also See SIDEBAR, “Following inundation, project slated for completion”).