This dam at the bridge on Jefferson Avenue at Sunnybrook Street keeps water flowing into Lake St. Clair and staves off flooding in central Harrison Township.

This dam at the bridge on Jefferson Avenue at Sunnybrook Street keeps water flowing into Lake St. Clair and staves off flooding in central Harrison Township.

Photo by Julie Snyder

Harrison Township declares state of emergency

Great Lakes levels expected to set record highs, officials say

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published May 10, 2019


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — A state of emergency has been declared in Harrison Township due to rising lake levels. State officials say levels across all the Great Lakes are expected to set record highs this year.

On May 3, Harrison Township Supervisor Ken Verkest said that while a vast majority of homes and other properties remain clear from hazard as a result of the rising waters, the declaration is necessary because there are still properties facing potential damage.

Residents in the area of Black Creek and Campau Bay organized sandbagging efforts to help themselves and their neighbors in need.

And since the rain and easterly winds began pushing water levels upward, township officials have been using equipment to pump water from affected roads and properties. At press time, the township continued to distribute sandbags to residents in need. There are four sand piles for filling bags: at Lakeshore Drive and Riverdale Street; on Old North River Road; at South River Road and Father Street; and on Jefferson Avenue, across from Sunnybrook Street.

Verkest said since the recent construction of a weir on the north side of Metropolitan Parkway, just east of North Pointe Parkway, and the bridge that was installed on Jefferson Avenue at Sunnybrook in the late 1990s have kept the middle of the township from flooding.

A weekly lake levels report released May 3 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ NOAA Center for Operational Oceanic Products and Services International Joint Commission, Detroit District, states that Lake St. Clair is 11 inches above its level a month ago. It’s also up 3 inches from the previous weekly report on April 26.

“And the levels are expected to go up another 8 inches until the peak season in July,” Verkest said.

On May 6, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announced that record-high water levels are forecasted for some of the Great Lakes over the next six months.

The forecasted water levels on Lake Superior, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie are all expected to break records set in the early 1950s and mid-1980s. While new record highs are not currently forecasted for Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario, officials said very high water levels are expected there as well.

“Several months of wet weather, including a significant snowpack across the northern Great Lakes basin and recent heavy rain events, have pushed water levels higher than originally forecasted,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, in the statement.

The Detroit District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in coordination with partners from Environment and Climate Change Canada, released the official six-month forecast for the Great Lakes on May 6. The Monthly Bulletin of Water Levels for the Great Lakes is completed at the beginning of each month, with the latest edition covering the period from May to October.

The report states that the Great Lakes region will continue to see the threat of coastal flooding and shoreline erosion, especially during storm events. “Localized water levels are often impacted by winds and can be significantly higher during storms. Water levels and flow rates in the connecting channels of the Great Lakes are also high and may, depending on winds and other atmospheric conditions, lead to localized flooding,” the report states.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can offer support to communities experiencing flooding by providing technical expertise and, in certain instances, flood fight supplies such as sandbags and plastic sheeting. This assistance must be requested by state authorities, and communities should contact their county emergency management offices, which can begin coordination with the state and the U.S. Army Corps.

Find the Monthly Bulletin of Water Levels for the Great Lakes at

Tips to avoid being scammed
Attorney General Dana Nessel last week warned southeast Michigan residents facing damage from recent flooding to be on the alert for con artists looking to take advantage of victims desperate to quickly repair damage. To help these residents avoid becoming scam victims, Nessel shared tips on how to avoid criminals who exploit emergency situations, how to find and hire a reputable contractor for flood repairs, and how to report possible price gouging.

These tips are outlined in Nessel’s Consumer Protection Team’s consumer alert, “After the Disaster.”

“Disasters take an emotional, physical and financial toll and, understandably, homeowners want to repair the damage and get back to a sense of normalcy,” Nessel said in a press release. “They need quick answers and quick solutions. Unfortunately, this is also when criminals and scam artists will travel to and target disaster sites to exploit otherwise careful consumers.”

To avoid falling victim to con artists, Nessel first recommended these three steps:

• Don’t make any rash decisions. This is especially true if you are approached by anyone telling you they can fix your flood damage right away, but only if you accept their “help” right now. Legitimate home repair contractors and other service providers understand that you need time to do your homework.

• Keep your guard up. Ask to see identification of anyone who wants to enter your home or business, and check them out with the governmental authority or the company they claim to be from. Avoid giving out your personal information. Some scam artists masquerade as safety inspectors or utility workers who say immediate work is required. City, state and federal inspectors may verify damages, but they do not involve themselves in any part of the repair nor recommend or certify any contractor. Nor do they ask for or accept money.

• Beware of door-to-door solicitors. Reputable professionals in the industry rarely solicit door to door. Be especially wary of anyone who approaches you unsolicited and asks you to pay cash for their services or says they can do repairs with leftover supplies from a previous job.

If you have been the victim of a disaster-related scam or if you would like to file a general consumer complaint, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (517) 335-7599.

File a complaint online at Find “After the Disaster” at