Dunes no match for snowstorms

December 17, 2010

Download Story

Heavy snowstorms that walloped Northwest Indiana roads this week left behind a mess along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

 

The towns of Porter, Ogden Dunes and Dunes Acres, all in Porter County, are dealing with loss of dunes caused by 25-foot waves. The waves washed away sand dunes near people’s homes. That leaves homes with no protection from waves.

 

There’s not much officials can do to protect residents now, except to prevent further damager in the future. Michelle Bollinger, town council president in Porter, says the three towns are now working to find money to build a sea wall.

 

“Parts of our area have a sea wall. But where it was eroded horribly there’s no sea wall there. So, I don’t know,” Bollinger said. “We’re going to try to attempt to help the residents by seeing if we can get some federal funding to help construct a sea wall.”

 

No homes have been harmed yet but that’s only because lake levels are low right now.  Geologists say lake levels rise and fall from year to year.  The dunes can recover naturally but that could take years.

 

Porter building inspector Art Elwood said that before the storm, the owners of private beach properties could walk down the sloping dunes all the way to the beach.  Now, they have 12 to 15 feet tall cliffs in their way.