Environment: And Now, the Greater Lakes

As water levels rise to record heights, shore dwellers are swamped

Nine-foot combers bore down upon seawalls, crested and broke, hurling tons of spume 20 feet or higher into the air. Water streamed down the windows of shoreside high-rises. Inside, chandeliers swayed and furniture trembled. These vivid scenes were not of a city on the Gulf Coast in the midst of a hurricane. Instead, the locale was Chicago's lakefront last week, and no hurricane was involved. The storm was just a late autumn blow.

The apartment buildings along Lake Michigan were deluged for a more ominous reason: the water in the Great Lakes is rising to record levels. This year even minor...

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