• Gale Warning has been issued by Environment Canada for Lake Erie.
• Strong winds in the forecast beginning overnight and lasting through the weekend.
• On Saturday during the day there is a strong risk of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding along the Lake Erie shoreline, including Erie Shore Drive and the high bluff areas.
• Overnight Saturday or Sunday the risk of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding switches to Lake St. Clair, including Lighthouse Cove.
• Risk of freezing wave spray overnight and on Sunday.
A Gale Warning has been issued by Environment Canada’s Marine Forecasts due to strong winds in the forecast for Lake Erie this weekend. Weather forecasts are calling for strong winds from the southeast overnight tonight switching to the south tomorrow morning and to the southwest later in the afternoon. Various forecasts are calling for peak winds between 40 and 50 km/hr with gusts up to 75 km/hr. It is during this period that winds are most likely to have an impact on the Lake Erie shoreline. Overnight tomorrow winds are predicted to switch more westerly and eventually from the northwest Sunday afternoon. Winds are predicted to drop into the 30 km/hr range later in the afternoon on Sunday. It is during this period that winds are most likely to impact the Lake St. Clair shoreline. Forecasts are suggesting waves on Lake Erie would exceed 1 m in height for most of this event and could reach 3 m in height Saturday evening or overnight. Forecasts are suggesting waves on Lake St. Clair could reach 1 m in height on Sunday. Temperatures are also predicted to be beneath freezing point for most of the weekend other than during the day on Saturday.
While winds are generally from the south (overnight tonight into Saturday evening) 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. Flooding should also be expected in low lying shoreline areas such as along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent.
While winds are generally from the west-northwest or northwest (Saturday overnight and during the day on Sunday) there is a risk that wave action could damage shoreline protection works, cause erosion, and cause flooding along the Lake St. Clair shoreline in Lighthouse Cove and in Chatham-Kent on the east side of the lake. Lake St. Clair water levels have recently risen, increasing the risk of flooding from the canals in Lighthouse Cove as the winds push the lake water into the community.
In addition, the freezing temperatures means that wave spray and flood waters could freeze against structures and across the ground. This could block building exits, seal up exhaust vents from homes, or lead to treacherous walking and driving conditions. 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. Flooding shoreline areas can be especially hazardous in freezing conditions. 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 January 20, 2020.
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