• Gale Warnings and Freezing Spray Warnings have been issued by Environment Canada for the Lower Great Lakes.
• High winds in the forecast begin this evening, lasting though Thursday and possibly into Friday.
• On Lake St. Clair, beginning this evening, there is a strong risk of flooding in Lighthouse Cove, and a risk of shoreline damage and erosion all along the shoreline. This could last all day Thursday and possibly into Friday.
• On Lake Erie, Thursday afternoon into Friday, there is the possibility of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding in areas such as Erie Shore Drive.
• Risk of freezing wave spray.
Gale Warnings have been issued by Environment Canada’s Marine Forecasts for the lower Great Lakes due to high winds in the forecast over the next couple of days. Currently winds are out of the north at around 20 km/hr. This evening, those winds are predicted to rise above 35 km/hr and to switch to the northwest. On Thursday, those winds are predicted to switch more westerly and climb even higher, possibly peaking up as high as 50 km/hr with gusts over 80 km/hr. However, forecasts are not consistent as to whether the winds will stay straight out of the west later in the day on Thursday. Some forecasts suggest they could switch to the southwest, while others suggest they could swing back northwest. Depending on the forecast, the strong wind above 30 km/hr could last well into Friday. The northwest winds over Lake St. Clair will push lake water into the Lighthouse Cove area, potentially raising water levels by 10 to 15 cm in the area. Wave forecasts suggest waves between 0.5 and 1 m could be seen in nearshore areas of Lake St. Clair. If the winds do end up switching to the southwest later in the day on Thursday, there could be waves over 1.5 m in nearshore areas of Lake Erie. Temperatures are also predicted to be beneath freezing point throughout this wind event.
Over the next couple of days there is a risk that wave action could damage shoreline protection works, cause erosion, and cause flooding along the Lake St. Clair shoreline around Lighthouse Cove and in Chatham-Kent on the east side of the lake. There is a strong risk of wave spray flooding in Lighthouse Cove later this evening and overnight because of the high winds from the northwest, which could last well into Thursday.
If the winds switch to the southwest later in the day on Thursday, 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 would also be expected in low lying shoreline areas such as along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent.
In addition, the freezing temperatures means that wave spray and flood waters could freeze against structures and across the ground, leading to dangerous walking and driving conditions. Environment Canada’s Marine Forecast has Freezing Spray Warnings in effect. 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 February 29, 2020.
Message Contact: Jason Wintermute (519-354-7310 x277, [email protected])