Bay shore homeowners learn impacts of rising water on the Great Lakes

OCONTO, Wis. (WBAY) -- Homeowners filled the Oconto High School auditorium Wednesday night, hoping to learn how to keep the rising water in the bay and out of their homes.

Flooded homes along the Bay Shore in Oconto.

“Our house is literally about 20 feet from the water so we don't have any buffer zone between us and those northeasters, our property faces directly north east,” said Tom Fulton, who lives along North Bay Shore Road.

That road along with many others were closed a few weeks ago after strong northeast winds and rains flooded homes and roads.

Fulton was just one neighbor at Wednesday’s informational meeting looking for answers, as the water creeps closer and closer to his home.

“When it hits us, it hits us hard. It rolls up over our rock, rolls down our rock, floods our yard, fills in the road on either sides of us.”

The Army Corps of Engineers gave neighbors a look at water levels across the Great Lakes.

They say the water level on Lake Michigan is up 17 inches compared to this time last year.

“Our biggest fear, we're worried about the spring...because the water levels in the Great Lakes are high now, and we're worried about ice shoves and water levels coming up,” said Tim Magnin, emergency management director for Oconto County.

Emergency Management and the DNR, educated the public about the proper permits needed to protect their property and how they're working to keep neighbors safe in case of an emergency.

“When they leave their homes, what is a safe way to leave their home as far as turning off the gas, turning off the electric, reporting things to the neighbors. All this kind of stuff, so we know where people are when they evacuate, if we have to evacuate,” said Magnin.

Neighbors like Fulton, are still worried as Mother Nature takes us into winter.

“The projected snowfall for this year is supposed to be one of the highest in the last 120 some years so I think we're in serious, serious trouble,” said Fulton.