HAMBURG, NY (WIVB) With Thursday’s forecast calling for 50 mph wind gusts and waves as a high six feet on Lake Erie, residents of Hoover Beach are hoping it’s not as bad as what they experienced just four months ago.
“It was like the perfect storm, like we were in the middle of the lake,” said Lise Krueder, who was among the Hoover Beach residents who saw some of the worst damage they’ve seen in years from high lake levels contributing to a seiche which pounded their breakwalls and their homes.
“We had three or four walls that had catastrophic failures,” said resident, Hank Kleinfelder. “After that, we’ve kind of gone back and had had most all of these residents who experienced those failures have fortified their walls, added rocks to try to absorb some of the wave energy as they’re approaching.”
Since Halloween, Hank has brought in boulders, each weighing between 5,000 and 8,000 pounds, to fill in his boat ramp in the hopes of preventing what happened in October. The strong waves and debris crashed right through the front of his boat garage.
“When we had 150 feet of beach out here we never really worried about it,” said Dave Schultz whose family has lived on Hoover Beach for a century. “We put the walls up in the seventies because the water kept on creeping up and creeping up. Now, it’s getting to a point where now 35 mile per hour winds get our attention.”
That’s why Town of Hamburg officials are applying for a FEMA grant to build a series of walls about 100 feet out into the lake to absorb the shock of the waves.
“That’s the only thing that’s gonna help us is a breakwater and a break wall of some type,” said Jack Schultz, whose lived on Hoover Beach for 86 years. “I would love to see it in my time. I don’t know how much time I got left but I would love it.”
“If we get lucky, it could be a two or three year project in my opinion. In the meantime, we’ve got to do things to help people here,” said James Shaw, Hamburg Town Supervisor, who, for now, is also asking the state to help make generators and sandbags available to these residents in case it’s needed this week.