• Gale Warning has been issued for Lake Erie and a Strong Wind Warning has been issued for Lake St. Clair due to very strong winds in the forecast for this afternoon into tomorrow morning.
• There is some uncertainty as to what the wind direction will be and their could be impacts on either of the lakes.
• Risk of shoreline damage, erosion and flooding along the Lake St. Clair shoreline, including Lighthouse Cove and nearby shoreline in Chatham-Kent.
• Risk of shoreline damage, erosion and flooding along the Lake Erie shoreline, including Erie Shore Drive and the high bluff areas.
• Special Weather Statement has been issued due to continuing rainfall today.
Environment Canada’s Marine Forecast has issued a Gale Warning for Lake Erie and a Strong Wind Warning for Lake St. Clair. Forecasts are calling for very strong winds that could begin this afternoon possibly extending into Friday morning. Wind forecasts are generally in the range of 40 to 60 km/hr during this period with a couple forecasts suggesting winds could exceed 65 km/hr at times with gusts potentially as high as 100 km/hr. The various forecasts are not consistent as to when the peak winds will occur and from what direction they will be at the time. Some forecasts are calling for peak winds from the southwest early this evening. Other forecasts suggest the peak winds will not be until the overnight period and could be from any direction out of the west, ranging from northwest through southwest. The Marine Forecast is one of the forecasts suggesting earlier winds peaks and predicts that wave heights on Lake Erie could be 2 to 3 m by early this evening, and around 0.5 to 1 m by early this evening on Lake St Clair.
There is a risk that wave action could damage shoreline protection works, cause erosion, and flooding in low lying areas. Unfortunately, the various forecasts are not so helpful in pinning down what areas of our Great Lakes shoreline are most likely to be impacted by this event. The wind speeds in the forecasts have caused flooding on both Lake St. Clair (in Lighthouse Cove) and on Lake Erie (along Erie Shore Drive) in the recent past. Whether damages will occur in any particular area will depend on actually how high wind speeds get and the direction they are coming from at the time.
If the strong winds arrive from the southwest, they would be driving waves onto the Lake Erie shoreline in Chatham-Kent and Elgin County. The area in the LTVCA most likely to be impacted in this case would be Erie Shore Drive but there could also be impacts along the high bluff areas. If the strong winds arrive from the northwest, they will be driving waves onto the Lake St. Clair shoreline in Lakeshore and Chatham-Kent. The area in the LTVCA most likely to be impacted would be Lighthouse Cove and the shoreline areas nearby in Chatham-Kent. If the winds are out of the west, this could lessen impacts around Lighthouse Cove, but could still potentially have impacts to the Lake St. Clair shoreline in Chatham-Kent. West or northwest winds would be offshore on Lake Erie and would have significantly lessened impacts on its shoreline. Given the uncertainty in the forecasts, residents should pay attention to local conditions and be prepared.
A Special Weather Statement has also been issued by Environment Canada due to continuing rains in the forecast. Some areas of the Lower Thames watershed received around 25 mm of rainfall yesterday and there is another 15 to 30 mm in the forecasts for today. The rain in the forecast could aggravate any shoreline related flooding. Due to the high lake levels, the groundwater table is high and storm water systems and local watercourses are filled with lake water. As a result, rainwater is not draining properly from these areas. In addition, any water from upstream making its way downstream on local watercourses into these shoreline areas could further impact these areas.
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 November 2, 2019.
Message Contact: Jason Wintermute (519-354-7310 x227, [email protected])