• Gale Warning and Freezing Spray Warning in effect for Western Lake Erie.
• Strong southerly winds predicted this evening and Friday, possibly into Saturday morning.
• Risk of shoreline damage and erosion all along the Lake Erie shoreline, including the high bluffs.
• Flooding along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent and a risk of flooding in other low-lying shoreline areas.
There is a Gale Warning and a Freezing Spray Warning in effect for Western Lake Erie from Environment Canada’s Marine Forecast. Currently, winds are gentle to moderate across the region and from the south. Forecasts are predicting that winds will switch to the southeast this afternoon and then back to the southwest overnight and stay from that direction into Sunday. Down on Lake Erie, sustained wind speeds are predicted to exceed 35 km/hr this evening. Winds are predicted to remain strong all day Friday, possibly into Saturday morning as well. Sustained winds speeds down on the lake, late overnight tonight through Friday afternoon, could peak in the 50 to 65 km/hr range, with gusts up to 80 km/hr. Although temperatures may climb above freezing this afternoon, freezing temperatures are predicted to return overnight. Wave forecasts for Lake Erie are generally calling for waves of 1.5 m to 2 m in height, with the Marine Forecast predicting the possibility of 2 to 3 m waves further offshore. Although ice has started to form on the Lake Erie shoreline in the central basin, the lake is still largely open and it is doubtful that the ice could stand up to the waves predicted for this event.
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.
Based on the predicted wind speed and direction, flooding is expected along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent. With the predicted wind speeds, significant flooding is likely to occur. Many properties will have standing water and water should be expected to be flowing over the road in several locations. Residents and workers in the area should be prepared. There is also a risk of flooding in other low-lying shoreline areas along Lake Erie.
The freezing conditions could create further risks. Any flooding that occurs could freeze, creating slippery conditions. Waves crashing against shoreline protections can create spray that would also freeze. Such freezing spray could freeze across the ground, onto trees, over homes and structures, and even onto nearby roadways. Such freezing conditions could occur along any low-lying shoreline areas, but Erie Shore Drive is particularly at risk for this.
There are not expected to be issues for the Lake St. Clair shoreline in the LTVCA jurisdiction given the wind directions and ice cover.
People should take extra caution and avoid the shoreline should conditions get rough. The waves can be strong and the shoreline slippery, especially with 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 attempt to monitor the situation and update this advisory if necessary.
This message will be in effect through February 7, 2021.
Message contact: Jason Wintermute ([email protected])