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High winds, flooding cause major damage at Port Milwaukee

January 12, 2020 GMT
High winds from the recent storms pushed water ashore doing damage to piers at the South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee Sunday, January 12, 2020. Thousands remained without electrical power after weekend storms ravaged parts of the Southeast and Midwest. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)
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High winds from the recent storms pushed water ashore doing damage to piers at the South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee Sunday, January 12, 2020. Thousands remained without electrical power after weekend storms ravaged parts of the Southeast and Midwest. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)
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High winds from the recent storms pushed water ashore doing damage to piers at the South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee Sunday, January 12, 2020. Thousands remained without electrical power after weekend storms ravaged parts of the Southeast and Midwest. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — High winds, towering waves and flooding have caused millions of dollars in damage to Port Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, the port’s director said Sunday.

The wild weather Saturday forced the port to prohibit public access to Jones Island and caused flooding on all major roadways at the port. Winds gusted up to 50 mph, and waves reached 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) high.

Port Director Adam Schlicht called it “an unprecedented event at Port Milwaukee.” Schlicht said the port’s international docks, which are closed for the season, sustained “significant damage.”

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Floodwaters were receding Sunday, he said. The inner harbor is expected to reopen early Monday, and tenants on Jones Island will have access to roadways.

The wind and water stripped off dock wall material and pushed it inland, and frozen floodwaters covered railroad tracks in a foot of ice, Schlicht said. No one was hurt.

Water levels on the Great Lakes have been at or near all-time highs for much of the past year, the City of Milwaukee said. The high water levels, combined with strong winds, allowed waves to wash over the break wall and dock walls around the port. Floodwaters reached 3 feet (0.91 meters) on some parts of Jones Island under the Hoan Bridge.