• Moderate to strong winds overnight tonight into the Friday/Saturday overnight period.
• Some risk of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding along the Lake Erie shoreline, especially Erie Shore Drive, as winds transition through the southwest, or should they switch back to the southwest.
• Some risk of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding along the eastern Lake St. Clair shoreline.
• Some risk of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding in Lighthouse Cove should winds switch to the northwest.
• Sidewalk flooded in downtown Chatham.
Weather forecasts are calling for moderate to strong winds beginning overnight tonight and lasting into the Friday/Saturday overnight period. Currently down on Lake Erie, winds are light out of the east. Late this evening or overnight, winds are predicted to increase in speed and transition through the south, ending up as west winds tomorrow morning. Forecasts suggest that during this period of southerly winds, sustained wind speeds could be in the range of 20 to 30 km/hr. Peak wind speeds tomorrow afternoon when winds are out of the west, are predicted to be in the 30 to 40 km/hr range. There is some uncertainty in the forecasts as to whether the winds tomorrow will stay straight out of the west or switch to the northwest or back to the southwest. Forecasts suggest waves of 1 to 2 m in height could be expected on Lake Erie and 1 m on Lake St. Clair.
While the winds are transitioning through the south, late this evening or overnight, wind speeds could be high enough to cause issues down on the Lake Erie shoreline. There would be some risk of shoreline damage and erosion all along the Lake Erie shoreline in Chatham-Kent and Elgin County. The winds could also be high enough to cause shoreline damage and flooding issues along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent. When winds end up from the west tomorrow, they will be largely offshore winds for Lake Erie and the risk drops. However, if they should stay or switch back to the southwest, there would be further impacts to Erie Shore Drive. Shoreline residents and workers down on Erie Shore Drive should pay attention to local conditions and be prepared.
Lake St. Clair has lost most of its ice that had been protecting the shoreline in the LTVCA over the last few weeks. Only a little bit of ice remains on its eastern shoreline in Chatham-Kent. If the ice doesn’t hold up to the winds and waves, there could be impacts to the shoreline in Chatham-Kent. In addition, there are a couple forecasts that suggest the westerly winds tomorrow could be more from the northwest. If this happens and we get the higher forecasted wind speeds, there could be some shoreline damage and flooding in Lighthouse Cove. Shoreline residents should pay attention to local conditions and be prepared.
People should take extra caution and avoid the shoreline should conditions get rough. The waves can be strong and the shoreline slippery. There could also be hazardous debris within the waves and water which could be thrown onto the shore. Standing water can also present unseen hazards.
Thames River in Chatham:
On Monday and Tuesday, there was rain in the Thames River watershed with some areas receiving up to 20 mm of rain. Generally speaking there was more rain in the upper Thames watershed and less in the lower watershed. In addition to the rain, we had warm temperatures around 10 C over much of the watershed. This melted most of the snow in the upper watershed and combined with the rain caused a rise in water levels on the Thames. The river did not rise enough to cause any significant flooding through the watershed. Generally flows were not high enough to even worry much about the river flats through Middlesex and Elgin County. However, water levels on Lake St. Clair have exceeded record highs for this time of the year. This has impacted water levels on the river in downstream areas. In the city of Chatham, water has already risen up above portions of the sidewalk along the river in downtown Chatham. Over the next few days, the water will rise some more and the sidewalk should be expected to remain flooded over through the weekend. Significant flooding beyond this is not expected.
People should take extra caution and avoid the river. The combination of slippery banks and fast moving cold water can be dangerous. Standing water can also present unseen hazards. Children and animals should be kept away from the water.
Officials will continue to monitor the situation and update this advisory if necessary.
This message will be in effect until March 15, 2020.
Message Contact: Jason Wintermute (email@example.com).