- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

MUNISING, Mich. (AP) - Northern Michigan University is leading a collaborative effort to establish a hazard-observing system starting next year for a stretch of Lake Superior shoreline.

The project that includes the communities of Marquette, Munising and Grand Marais is funded by a $100,000 grant from the Great Lakes Observing System. Details were discussed Sunday at a forum in Marquette.

“It’s been a problem for the National Weather Service to predict storms because there’s currently not much in the way of consistent monitoring along that stretch of shoreline,” Norma Froelich, a professor in the school’s Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences department, said in a statement.

Two monitoring buoys are planned. One will be placed near Munising within five nautical miles of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. A second, more portable buoy will provide measurements of wave activity along some other stretches along Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, including Granite Island Light Station, Grand Marais and Whitefish Point.

“The hope is that this will allow for greater preparedness for coastal weather events, which will benefit the Coast Guard and fire departments for rescue purposes, as well as fisheries and recreational businesses that depend on the lake,” Froelich said. “It will also provide more advance warning of swimming and boating hazards.”

The equipment will be in position each May through November. Information from the system will be provided in real time to officials and will be posted on a public website. The Superior Watershed Partnership also is developing a mobile app to boost access to the information.

Students will be involved in data analysis, exploring how wind and waves are related to weather conditions in different seasons.

LimnoTech, an Ann Arbor-based environmental consulting company that has previous experience with buoy and weather-station deployments on the Great Lakes, also is involved. Another forum on the plans is Wednesday in Munising.

“Our hope is that the data will be of use to a lot of people along the southeastern shore of Lake Superior,” said John Lenters, a senior scientist at LimnoTech.




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