Gusty winds following clipper storm to create flood risk, pounding surf along Great Lakes

Gusty winds following clipper storm to create flood risk, pounding surf along Great LakesA period of strong winds will immediately follow a clipper storm and is forecast to create pounding waves and flooding along the shores of lakes Michigan, Erie, Huron and Ontario to end this week.Gusty north to northwest winds will be associated with the backside of a vigorous storm from western Canada, known as an Alberta Clipper. Wind blown waves from Lake Michigan break around the Shedd Aquarium as a winter storm moves across Illinois Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Winds kicked up Thursday night, then peaked Friday morning over the western Great Lakes. The strongest winds will affect the eastern Great Lakes into Friday evening.With the Great Lakes largely free of ice, large waves developed and rolled toward the southern shorelines of the water bodies."The waves are likely to get big enough to cause significant overwash, coastal flooding and erosion with the worst conditions on Lake Michigan," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson. The largest waves and greatest risk of lakeshore flooding along Lake Michigan will be from the south side of Chicago to northwestern Indiana and the southwestern corner of Michigan."Winds may gust as high as 50 mph over a several-hour period," Anderson said. "The action of the strong wind over the open waters and the long fetch can generate waves of 15-20 feet on the southern end of Lake Michigan."Areas that have been prone to damage and flooding in recent weeks could be affected again with this brief episode.CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPAdding to the problem is the very high water levels on the Great Lakes.> Continued effects of erosion sent this lakeshore cottage toppling off the bank in White River Township, MI north of Montague on New Years Eve. @breakingweather @accuweather> > -- Blake Naftel (@BlakeNaftel) January 3, 2020"The Feb. 28 forecasted water levels of Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie either match or exceed their respective record high February monthly mean levels," according to the United States Army Corps of Engineers. This graph of Great Lakes water levels over the years shows early 2020 information on the right side of the image. The red line depicts the long-term average water levels. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Waves are not likely to be as big on lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario as the fetch will be shorter, when compared to Lake Michigan. Still, the southern ends of these lakes can experience large waves that can cause water to pile up on the shoreline and cause minor flooding and erosion. The fast movement of the clipper storm will allow winds, waves and lakeshore flooding to ease quickly from west to east during Friday evening to Saturday.Until the storm has moved away and winds diminish, onlookers, motorists and pedestrians should avoid the lakeshore area for the risk of sneaker waves.A warmup will follow this weekend to early next week.Keep checking back on and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.