• Gale Warning in effect for western Lake Erie
• Southerly winds to exceed 25 km/hr this evening, possibly reaching between 50 and 60 km/hr with gusts around 80 km/hr overnight or early tomorrow morning.
• Flooding in Lake Erie shoreline communities, especially Erie Shore Drive
• Risk of shoreline damage and erosion all along the Lake Erie shoreline, including the high bluffs.
• Risk of thunderstorms late overnight and tomorrow.
There is a Gale Warning in effect for western Lake Erie. Currently, winds across the region are gentle to moderate from the east or southeast. Forecasts predict that winds will switch to the south and pick up this afternoon, reaching sustained wind speeds over 25 km/hr this evening. Winds are then predicted to climb even higher into the overnight. Forecasts are calling for south or southwest winds to peak sometime overnight or early tomorrow morning within sustained wind speeds between 50 and 60 km/hr and gusts between 75 and 90 km/hr. Strong southwest winds are expected to continue throughout most of tomorrow, not dropping below 25 km/hr until late tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow evening. Wave forecasts for Lake Erie are calling for waves of around 1 m by around midnight and waves of 2 to 3 m in height by late overnight. Forecasts also suggest there is a risk of thunderstorms late overnight and tomorrow during the day.
Due to high lake levels, there is a risk that wave action could damage shoreline protection works and cause erosion all along the Lake Erie shoreline in Chatham-Kent and Elgin County, including along the high bluff areas. There is little doubt that there will be flooding along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent. Given the wind direction and that the predicted winds speeds are so far beyond the thresholds that have recently been causing flooding along the road, significant flooding should be expected on Erie Shore Drive overnight or early tomorrow morning. Other south-facing shoreline communities along Lake Erie could also expect some flooding.
Currently, forecasts are suggesting that wind speeds will drop before switching to a direction that could cause issues along the Lake St. Clair shoreline in the LTVCA jurisdiction.
However, there is also a risk of thunderstorms for late overnight and throughout most of the day tomorrow. Although the total rainfall amounts currently predicted are not significant, thunderstorms can produce intense and more significant rain over isolated areas. This could cause flooding in low lying or poorly drained areas anywhere is the watershed. Due to the high lake levels on both Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, the groundwater table is high and storm water sewer systems and local watercourses are full with lake water in shoreline areas. As a result, rainwater is not draining properly from these areas, which makes them more vulnerable to flooding.
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. 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 September 8, 2020.
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