Some of the sand of Lee Street Beach is under water, but buckets of it covered the nearby sidewalk.
Some of the sand of Lee Street Beach is under water, but buckets of it covered the nearby sidewalk.

The subject heading on Charles West’s Saturday evening email was succinct: “Lee Street Beach is gone.”

High waves on Lake Michigan pounded Evanston’s shores. Just before 7 p.m. on Jan. 11, Mr. West wrote, “I just left Lee Street beach and the sand is covering the sidewalk. The waves are huge.”

Later he wrote, “It was beautiful.”

Earlier that afternoon, less than a mile north, Donald Terras, the keeper of the Grosse Point Light Station, was in the thick of the storm surge.

“The lake was kicked up higher than I have ever seen it – and that takes in quite a bit of time,” he wrote in an email to the RoundTable.

The water at the base of the stairs leading down to the beach “went up to my knees as I tried to slosh back to dry land before I got hit again.  I turned around and took this shot [see below] the last second before heading home for the lighthouse to get on some dry clothes.”

The air was calmer on Jan.12; the waves were still strong but not as high as the day before.

Some of Lee Street Beach was visible, but sand – three inches deep in some places – blanketed the sidewalk there for several yards.

A couple of miles inland, the raging lake could not disturb the relative calm in Perkins Woods.