(WBBM NEWSRADIO) – The destructive power of Lake Michigan may seem like a new danger, but one expert stresses the region has periodically grappled with high water levels.
“What we’re experiencing today really isn’t different from how the lake has behaved in the past,” says Steve Brown, chief scientist of the Illinois State Geological Survey Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
“We know the lake’s level is going to fall again and we also know it’s going to rise again.”
Brown concedes that may be little consolation to people who live along Chicago’s lakefront, which has been battered in recent months amid near-record water levels. During storms, waves have decimated some areas of the shore and swallowed up beaches.
Longtime WBBM Newsradio reporter Mike Krauser, whose beat coverage has included the Indiana lakefront, says people have nervously watched their properties shrink and, in some cases, shelled out their own money in hopes of keeping the water away.
“These homes that once many years ago were set very far away are suddenly much closer today,” he tells Cisco Cotto, host of the podcast WBBM In Depth.
Andy Shaw, a political commentator who owns lakefront property in southwest Michigan, has his own anecdotal experiences: "The violence of the storms is relatively unparalleled."