Where's the water? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-08-2007 Thread Starter
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Where's the water?

Can you say seiche?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seiche

These were taken Tuesday at Humbug Marina in western Lake Erie. My friend pulls his Catalina 25 with a 4'3" fixed keel at that lift.




Those grand fresh-water seas of ours - Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan, - possess an ocean-like expansiveness...They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles...they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories...they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew. --from Moby Dick

Last edited by Hawkwind; 11-08-2007 at 12:41 AM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-08-2007 Thread Starter
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Here's a typical summer view. Yes the water is shallow at some points, but it's there.

http://marinas.com/view/marina/4186

We had a very strong west wind on Tuesday so Buffalo got all the water. I'm sure those boats were floating a few hours later, though the levels tend to see-saw a bit for a day or two when they get this goofed up.

Fall is always bad. I think we need snow up north in the winter to get water down here for the summer. Otherwise Niagra Falls would drain the lakes. Anyway, that's my guess, I'm certainly no expert. I know people always talk about the snow pack up north and it's better for lake levels if the water freezes so it doesn't evaporate.

Those grand fresh-water seas of ours - Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan, - possess an ocean-like expansiveness...They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles...they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories...they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew. --from Moby Dick

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post #3 of 16 Old 11-08-2007
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Hmm... looks a bit shallow there for his boat to get hauled out anytime soon.

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post #4 of 16 Old 11-08-2007
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Gadzooks thats a dry martini

Its hard trying to nap with that bilge pump alarm going off all the time
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-08-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkwind View Post
Can you say seiche?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seiche

These were taken Tuesday at Humbug Marina in western Lake Erie. My friend pulls his Catalina 25 with a 4'3" fixed keel at that lift.
I had my boat hauled out of Lake Erie for the winter about 10 days ago. 2 days ago the water dropped 3 feet lower than it's been all year, it dropped about 5 feet in 24 hours. The water in my slip would have been about 4.5' deep which is not good considering my 6'2" draft. Back to normal now though. I think I'll haulout a littler earlier next year.

My dock neighbor said that last November a couple of large Hatteras got stuck in the mud when the water went out, then flooded when the water came back up and the boats remained planted in the mud.

Any Great Lakes sailors can keep an eye on the water level here:

http://glakesonline.nos.noaa.gov/gli...ower+Plant,+MI

Just use the links on the map at the bottom of the page.

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post #6 of 16 Old 11-08-2007
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No agenda or hidden context; I'm just curious......

If this were a new phenomenon it would be scary; but it isn't right?

Or is it happening to a greater degree and frequency?

I'm really only familiar with the ocean.

Fred

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post #7 of 16 Old 11-08-2007
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Quote:
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No agenda or hidden context; I'm just curious......

If this were a new phenomenon it would be scary; but it isn't right?

Or is it happening to a greater degree and frequency?

I'm really only familiar with the ocean.

Fred
Nope, it's been around forever. Seiche happens when the wind blows from one direction for a long period of time in an enclosed area (like a lake), and piles all the water up at one end. It's particularly dramatic in Lake Erie because that lake runs east-west, like the direction of the prevailing winds, and is quite shallow. But it happens in the Chesapeake too, when we get long periods of strong north winds in winter blowing all the water out of the bay. It seems to be happening more, recently, because there's a lot more shoreline construction so we're more aware of the changes in water level.
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-08-2007
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Thanks eryka,

That's what I thought from what I've been reading on this board. I just didn't realize how dramatic it can be.

I got an Old Fat Boat
She's Slow But Handsome
Hard In The Chine, but Soft In The Transom
I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-08-2007
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Another aspect of the issue is that the water level/locks control areas on the Great Lakes deliberately let the lower Lakes have more water so that the last of the freighters can get down the St. Lawrence. I noticed in late October one year that I could get into the Bay of Quinte from Presqu'ile Bay easily, but returning, I bottomed out several times...because Lake Ontario was actively being drained a foot or so. That was with a strong north *east* wind. With a strong south westerly, it would be much worse at the west ends of both Erie and Ontario, which are oriented more or less in the same direction.
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post #10 of 16 Old 11-08-2007 Thread Starter
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As eryka said, this has been happening forever to some degree. This was the worst one I've seen, but I'm usually not at the marina in the late fall.

The overall lake levels have been falling over recent years but that might be a cyclical thing. I've heard people blame global warming or say that the Illinois River drain to the Mississippi is "stealing" our water. I don't know enough to have an opinion on the subject though I don't believe this is in any way connected to the drought problems presently occurring in the southeastern USA.

Interesting reply Valiente, I had never heard about the locks being used to regulate the water levels.

Those grand fresh-water seas of ours - Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan, - possess an ocean-like expansiveness...They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles...they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories...they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew. --from Moby Dick
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