TRAVERSE CITY — People stopped their cars to gawk at waves lapping the parking lot of Clinch Park Marina.
It was the same in Frankfort's municipal marina where Gabe Huffman, a dock hand, reported a few more inches may be all it takes before docks begin to submerge.
"Our parking lot is pretty much a pool itself," Huffman said.
Already high water levels got a shoreline push from northwesterly wind gusts Thursday .
National Weather Service issued a lakeshore flood advisory as the combination of northwesterly wind gusts, elevated Great Lakes water levels and recent rainfall pushed the big water past its usual boundaries in some spots.
Traverse City's Clinch Park boat launch, sidewalks and parking area flooded, and weather officials warned residents to watch for rising waters along the Lower Peninsula's entire Lake Michigan shoreline.
"This isn't surprising because we've seen the static water levels continue to rise," said Mark Breederland, Traverse City-based Michigan Sea Grant extension educator.
The weather advisory called for wind gusts up to 30 mph and 2- to 4-foot waves with the potential to cause shoreline erosion, beach flooding and the risk of waves completely submerging docks and piers.
Federal hydrology officials this month reported May received above average precipitation across the entire Great Lakes basin, pushing elevated water levels even higher.
The trend seems to be continuing this month, said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Detroit District.
The Corps' June bulletin on Great Lakes water levels shows Lakes Superior, St. Clair and Erie surpassed their monthly mean water levels for May by 1, 2 and 3 inches, respectively. Also, Lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario had mean water levels a mere 4 inches below record highs for May.
Kompoltowicz said June is now on track to break high water level records set in 1986 everywhere on the Great Lakes, save for Lake Ontario where the record was set two years ago. "And if not record highs, some of the highest water levels on record going back to 1918," he said.
Another couple of inches of static water level increase is expected for Lakes Michigan and Huron before water level peaks are reached, which may not happen until July or even August, Kompoltowicz said.
In Leland, many eyes are watching Lake Michigan water levels which seem to be ever-threatening when the wind brings waves, said Summer Meyer, of the Fishtown Preservation organization.
"Things being what they are, they are right there waiting to break through," she said.
Fishtown is even working to develop an evacuation plan with the local fire department, Meyer said, especially should water levels continue to threaten the historic buildings.
Meteorologist Dan Cornish, of the NWS station in Gaylord, said Thursday's gusty winds worked to push the already high water levels further into the shoreline, especially those directly facing the northwesterly winds.
And while periodic rainfall is expected to continue across the region through the weekend, Cornish said shoreline flooding concerns should diminish when the wind shifts Friday to instead come out of the southwest.