Gales of September set to lash Michigan beaches, bring up to 15-foot waves, erosion

Photo: mlive


GAYLORD, MI – Buckle up for the gales of September.

Gale watches and warnings are kicking in today across much of Lake Superior, and flanking Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Strong winds topping 40 mph are expected to hit the coastlines between Thursday night and late Friday. These winds and their accompanying storms could cause beach erosion and even flooding in some areas, the National Weather Service said.

In some areas of Lake Superior, 12 to 15-foot waves are forecast on Friday.

The gale-force winds are taking aim at Michigan ahead of a cold front that’s forecast to push through the area tonight and into Friday.

“Winds will become southwest and gusty across northern Michigan this afternoon into tonight in advance of the approaching system, before trending northwest Friday on the backside of the exiting storm system,” according to the NWS staff in Gaylord.

“The gusty winds combined with higher than normal Great Lakes water levels may create lakeshore flooding in some coastal areas along Lake Michigan.”

A gale-force wind is characterized as sustained winds between 39 and 54 mph.

On Lake Michigan, the gale warning area will be largely north of Pentwater. Waves up to 10 feet are expected at those northern beaches.

Elsewhere along the coast will have small craft advisories.

On Lake Superior, the first round of gales is expected to whip up later today.

“Across western Lake Superior, winds will funnel from Isle Royale down into Duluth, with northeast gales up to 40-45 knots at times later this evening and tonight,” according to the NWS in Marquette.

“Across eastern Lake Superior, winds ahead of the system will start off easterly, increase in speed, then become more southerly as the low tracks across central Lake Superior tonight. A screaming low-level jet of 50 to 60 knots out of the south-southwest tonight into early Friday morning will allow the gales to hold on across eastern Lake Superior into Friday morning. … During this time period, the large waves are expected across the west half of Lake Superior and will build upwards of 12 to 15 feet across far western Lake Superior.”

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