High water forces Conneaut Marina to shuts down power to some areas

High levels of water on Lake Erie has shut down the Conneaut sand bar to traffic and power has been shut down to the collection building (lower right) as wind surfers took to Conneaut Harbor on Friday afternoon.

CONNEAUT — Electricity at the Conneaut Harbor Marina is the latest casualty in the Port Authority's continuing struggle against this year's high water levels.

"The water is so high that it's gotten into some of our electrical connections, and we want to check everything out to make sure we don't have a safety issue," Harbormaster Denver Spieldenner said.

Water levels have been high all year, to the point where the sandbar in Conneaut Harbor has been cut off from the land. Electricity was cut off to the shed next to the sandbar as well, Spieldenner said. The Port Authority plans to raise the shed up by about a foot to prevent additional flooding.

Water levels were expected to start falling around the middle of June, according to previous estimates from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Lake Erie's water level was at 574.57 feet on June 13, 31 inches above average, and almost four inches above the record height for the second week of June, said Lauren Schifferle, a civil engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers' Water Management Department.

The lake surpassed May's record water height by three inches.

"If there is a lot of precipitation for the rest of this month and into July, it might take until early July for the levels to begin their decline," Schifferle said. "It's possible that we are at the peak, it's possible that the peak could be three or four weeks out ... unfortunately we won't know until after the levels start to decline."

According to Weather.com, there is a chance of storms for 12 of the next 14 days.

"It's beyond our control. We're doing every day what we can do to make these docks usable. We're raising some of them, and we're constantly fixing water line leaks because of high water levels stretching things where it shouldn't be stretched," Spieldenner said. "We're doing what we can do, and people are pretty understanding of that."