Lake Michigan

Indiana Homes Along Lake Michigan Threatened By Waves, Erosion

Several homes in Long Beach, Indiana face seawall failure as waves and lake levels build

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Residents in Long Beach, Indiana are facing severe erosion as water levels and large waves in Lake Michigan pound the shoreline, causing some seawalls to fail.

John Mengel, a longtime resident of the area, says this is some of the worst erosion he’s seen in more than 40 years.

“The lake goes up, the lake goes down, but it seems every time it does it attacks a different location,” he says. “At some point the water comes up so far you’re either going to give up your house or put a seawall in.” 

Mengel also blames the lack of ice cover on the lake this year, which usually keeps the waves from crashing close to the homes on the town's Lake Shore Drive.

“On a day like today, I’m down here at least six or seven hours, on and off, to make sure as the waves build, we don’t have any erosion we didn’t find,” said Long Beach Building Commissioner Larry Wall.

Wall says seven homes along Lake Shore Drive need new seawalls installed, after the structures started failing during a storm last October.

Drone video captured by Brandon Clair with Timeless Aerial Photography shows the damage caused by the storms.

Beach access points have been washed away and underground utility lines are on the brink of being exposed.

“If this washes out to the point where it can undermine Lake Shore Drive, the gas main runs on the north side, (and) that’s obviously a pretty severe problem,” Wall said.

The homeowners are responsible for repairing and replacing their seawalls, according to officials.

The concerns are elevated this week, as a Lakeshore Flood Advisory has been issued for LaPorte County, where Long Beach is located. According to the advisory, waves of 5-to-8 feet are expected through the overnight hours Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.

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