'Floating islands' seen after heavy rain changes current - WNEM TV 5

'Floating islands' seen after heavy rain changes current

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(Source: Mark Maul) (Source: Mark Maul)
BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

The heavy rain Monday night and Tuesday morning had an impact on local waterways and what's been floating down one Mid-Michigan river has some people staring.

The Kawkawlin River was the talk of the town.

"It looked like a floating island," said Dave Doan, resident.

He lives on the river and watched as big patches of vegetation floated upstream, one after another. He had no idea where the patches came from.

"It's really goofy because I've never seen it before," Doan said.

Jim Baker, DNR fisheries unit manager, said the "floating islands" likely broke off of marshlands during the heavy rain Tuesday morning.

"It probably mobilized some vegetation and so forth and got it going on the river," Baker said.

It's caused by a phenomenon called seiche. The strong winds and change in atmosphere pressure caused more water to come into the southern part of the bay and the water essentially pushed upstream. That caused the current and the floating islands to go with it.

"Floating vegetation, or logs, or whatever it might be, are often mobilized under these types of conditions and they can move all over," Baker said.

Doan watched as the current shifted back toward the bay late Tuesday evening. He said he's concerned about what washed in and the problems it could cause.

"If it gets under the boats, caught in propellers, if there's sticks, it's almost like mud in there," Doan said.

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