CLEVELAND (AP) - Lake Erie water levels have risen to a near record high, causing flood concern for nearby homeowners.
Cleveland.com reports Lake Erie's last reading put the body of water at 574 feet (175 meters), just 7.3 inches (19 centimeters) shy of an all-time high in 1986.
Environmental officials say heavy rains and months of melting snow are responsible for the recent hike in water levels. They say high water levels will surge even more if strong storms continue to drench the region.
Residents with lakefront properties say they've lost patios and staircases due to the rising water and subsequent flooding.
Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes, the biggest surface freshwater system in the world. The other Great Lakes also have seen water levels higher than average.
Information from: cleveland.com, http://www.cleveland.com