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Lakeshore Flooding

This page was created to document lakeshore flooding across western Lake Superior and detail NWS efforts to improve our prediction of lakeshore flooding.

What is Lakeshore Flooding, and how does NWS warn for it?

Lakeshore Flooding (or Coastal Flooding as it is known for ocean coastal communities) is flooding which occurs when water is driven onto land from an adjacent body of water. This generally occurs during significant storms - for the Great Lakes, usually (but not always) in conjunction with high water levels. (For coastal communities, lakeshore flooding is typically caused by tropical and extratropical cyclones, usually in combination with high tides.) 

The National Weather Service will issue the following products to warn for lakeshore flooding:

Product Description 
Lakeshore Flood Watch Lakeshore flooding that may have significant impacts (12-48 hours in advance)
Lakeshore Flood Warning Lakeshore flooding which poses a serious threat to life and property is occurring, imminent, or highly likely (12-24 hours in advance)
Lakeshore Flood Advisory Minor lakeshore flooding is occurring or possible (12-24 hours in advance)

(Colors represent the colors that the product would display on the NWS website map.)

We also try to communicate possible lakeshore flooding using social media, graphics on our websites, and weather briefings emailed to our partners.

Past Lakeshore Flood Events

The following are past storm events where lakeshore flooding/damage was known to occur. Names are not official - they're just names we've used to keep track of the past few years of storms. (This section is under development.)

Nov 26-27, 2001 – “Lakewalk Damaged”

(Peak Duluth Water Level: 602.6’)

Oct 27, 2017 – “Storm #1”

NWS Storm Summary Webpage

(Peak Duluth Water Level:  604.36’)

Apr 13-15, 2018 – “Storm #2”

NWS Storm Summary Webpage

(Peak Duluth Water Level:  603.14’)

Oct 10-11, 2018 – “Storm #3”

(Peak Duluth Water Level:  604.24’)

Apr 11, 2019 – “Almost Storm #4”

(Peak Duluth Water Level:  603.77’)

Oct 21, 2019 – “Storm #5”

NWS Storm Summary Webpage

(Peak Duluth Water Level: 604.75’)

We need your reports!

We're currently doing research at how we can better predict lakeshore flooding, but we need your help! We're afraid we're not capturing all of the impacts from past storms, and without knowing the kind of damage past storms have done, we can't predict what kind of damage a future storm (next year or 20+ years from now) will be capable of producing. If you have photos, videos, or any kind of reports of damage caused by past storms, please let us know using this form: Lakeshore Flooding/Damage Report Form. Photo/Video upload requires a Google account - if you don't have media to share you may use this alternative form without file uploading which does not require a Google account. (If you cannot access the form, please email reports to Joe at