The power of mother nature

Lake floor exposed. / Jon James

The strong westerly winds of Friday and Saturday transformed the western basin of Lake Erie. Sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph blew an amazing amount of water to the eastern shores of the magnificent Great Lake, lowering the level of the western basin of the lake a good five to six vertical feet -- truly amazing!

I was first alerted to the phenomenon on Friday afternoon while I was driving along the Maumee at Perrysburg, my hometown. I noticed a marked drop in the river level and realized that the western lake level must be dropping. By Saturday morning, with the winds increasing, I knew the effects would be dramatic with gusts over 50 mph.

My border collie Barnie and I headed out late Saturday morning for the Maumee just above Perrysburg. As you'll see in the video, the entire floor of the Maumee was laid bare. I didn't realize that the Maumee was essentially an estuary east of Perrysburg. As the western basin of Lake Erie fell, all of the water which fills the Maumee downstream of Perrysburg drained into the lake, leaving a barren riverbed. It was an amazing thrill to be able to walk across the floor of the Maumee River from shore to shore. I'd heard of the phenomenon - but to experience it in person was very cool!

After seeing what happened to the Maumee, it was time to head for Lake Erie's Maumee Bay State Park to see how low the lake had fallen. When we got to the lake shore the winds were really screaming and the sights certainly didn't disappoint. The waters of the lake had receeded in spots a quarter mile into the lake from seasonal levels. Out onto the lake floor Barnie and I walked, marveling at all that was revealed by the power of the wind. The picture taken with the lighthouse clearly show the "bathtub ring" of the normal lake level. The drop in evidence was at least five to six feet below normal pool.

I hope you enjoy the photo's and video and that a few of you got to experience this marvel of nature firsthand.