"You can't beat the river," hundreds of homes damaged as Lake St. Clair breaks record heights

Lakefront views can be blessings for residents. Until that lakefront starts encroaching beyond its normal levels. 

"You can't beat the river; it wins all the time," said Pat Hughes, of Algonac.

It may seem like a tired story, but reports of flooding have continued to come in as Great Lakes' water levels reached heights not seen since the Army Corps of Engineers started record keeping their levels. Over the Fourth of July Lakes Superior, Erie and Ontario broke heights.

But that's not the only lake breaking records.

"You couldn't see grass, it was all water here," said Ron Deriemacker, "It was like a lake."

Or at least an extension of one. Among other water bodies breaking records is Lake St. Clair. It's three feet higher now than it was a year ago. About 200 homes have taken on water. That means yards saturated, dry wall soaked and sand bags filled - about 500,000 of them since the water woes began in May.

And the levels are expected to continue climbing.

"We are at a critical tipping point with many of our homes and businesses being impacted by floodwaters," said Justin Westmiller, the director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management with St. Clair County.

He said levels will go up another three inches in July. There's many factors contributing to the historic highs of the Great Lakes.

"We are holding onto so much water and that's allowing the water to rise in the Great Lakes," he said, "and then we had a huge runoff this past spring and that also added to our lake level so we just got a unique situation."

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Several communities elsewhere have found themselves struggling with water levels. From Harrison Township to neighborhoods in Detroit, many cities are attempting to mitigate flooding. Effects have even been exposed on Belle Isle.

Along with the melting snowpack, residents have to also factor in the ubiquitous rainfall in May and June. Those are environmental effects that can't be controlled. But there are other things residents can.

"The biggest problem is actually the boats that go by here," said Deriemacker. "They don't pay attention to the wake laws and they go fast and the water is so high in the canals it comes right over the top."

The county currently owns three pumps, all of which are working full time. They're trying to by five more. 

So what would help the water levels go down? Consider a scenario as extreme as the one that placed Michigan in this situation.

"To get as hot as we can for the next two or three months and burn off as much water as we can," said Westmiller, "and then we have a very very mild winter - so that's the super best case scenario."