DOOM at Lake Erie; Rare wind-driven Seiche has developed; may wipe out sections of Buffalo, NY

A natural disaster of epic proportions has been in-progress at Lake Erie today.  During the first three hours and at the time of this writing there was no sign of it stopping.  A rare wind-driven “Seiche” is taking place.  The wind is so fierce and sustained, it is blowing the entire body of lake water from west-to-east causing the natural sea level at the west end of Lake Erie to DROP 6 feet and the natural sea level at the east end to rise more than 7 feet!

A seiche occurs when strong winds push the surface water. With a strong west wind, the water level of the lake will drop on the west side of the lake and rise on the east side of the lake. This can be caused by a relatively quick line of severe thunderstorms with strong winds, or it can be more gradual, as with the “Gales of November” low pressure systems that cause a “standing seiche” that may last for a day or more.


This animation shows a standing wave (black) depicted as a sum of two propagating waves traveling in opposite directions (blue and red). Similar in motion to a seesaw, a seiche is a standing wave in which the largest vertical oscillations are at each end of a body of water with very small oscillations at the “node,” or center point, of the wave. Standing waves can form in any enclosed or semi-enclosed body of water, from a massive lake to a small coffee cup.

In the case of the line of storms, the water level quickly drops on the east side of the lake as the storm passes and the water sloshes back and forth, causing several rises and falls, which can be very dangerous. An example of that was the 1954 seiche that occurred in Chicago, which resulted in eight fatalities and the July 4, 2003 scieche that resulted in seven fatalities in Berrien County, Michigan.

Because it is oriented west-east, Lake Erie experiences some amazing standing seiches.

Massive flooding is taking place at the east end of Lake Erie, with inundating amounts of water flowing out of the lake onto nearby shore roads, causing those roads to become impassable. The seiche is already more than 7 feet tall and it continues to rise, spelling Doom for many local residents, and perhaps entire sections of the city of Buffalo, New York.


Water charts showing the LIVE water levels at both ends of Lake Erie tells the story quite graphically:

At Toledo, Ohio on the western shore of Lake Erie where the water level dropped by more than 6 feet suddenly today:


At Buffalo, NY, hundreds of miles to the east, the water level has suddenly risen by more than SEVEN FEET today, and continues to rise!


Here’s part of an article from the Storm Prediction Center from the big derecho thunderstorm complex of May 31, 1998:

Derechos crossing Lake Michigan occasionally produce what is called a seiche (pronounced as “say-sh”). A seiche is a prounounced oscillation of the lake surface. Such oscillations can at times change the water level at a given point by as much as ten feet. The May 30-31, 1998 derecho produced a seiche as the water level rose on the east side of the lake because of the intense westerly winds. At the time the derecho hit the east shore, a tug boat, the Stephen M. Asher, was traveling through a channel between Lake Michigan and White Lake north of Muskegon. The sailors on board the tug noticed the surge and the rise in water level as the derecho winds moved through. However, after the winds had subsided, the boat received an even higher surge from the opposite direction as the water in White Lake tried to return back into Lake Michigan. It was this return surge that overturned and ultimately sank the boat. Fortunately, the sailors were able to reach the bank of the channel and no one drowned.”

No one knows how long this wind-driven water will continue to rise, but Buffalo, NY and its surrounding towns could see vast portions of their communities literally wiped out — without any warning — within hours from now.

Staff Writer

Leo Ashcraft

A retired broadcast engineer, talk show host, news reporter - I have done everything there is to do in the radio broadcast business. I worked a year in television. I left that as my true passion has always been radio - plus I got tired of hearing - you have a face for radio.. I hope you enjoy my articles! Be sure to share them excessively on facebook - like our page and bug your friends with invites!

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