• Gale Warning in effect for Western Lake Erie.
• Strong southwesterly winds predicted this evening into Thursday morning, and possibly throughout the day Thursday.
• 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.
• Risk of freezing wave spray and floodwaters.
There is a Gale Warning from Environment Canada’s Marine Forecast is in effect for Western Lake Erie. Currently, winds are light across the region and generally from the west. Forecasts are predicting that winds will switch to the southwest this afternoon and pick up in speed. Down on Lake Erie, sustained wind speeds above 35 km/hr could be reached by early this evening. Wind are predicted to peak overnight with most forecasts calling for sustained wind speeds around 50 km/hr, and possibly gusts around 70 km/hr. The Marine Forecast predicts sustained wind speeds on the open waters of Lake Erie could reach around 65 km/h. Winds are then predicted to drop a bit, but forecasts predict strong winds could continue throughout the day Thursday. Sustained wind speeds are predicted to range between 30 and 45 km/hr throughout the day Thursday, depending on the forecast. Winds are then predicted to switch to the west and drop off Thursday evening. Freezing temperatures are predicted to last into Thursday morning. Wave forecasts for Lake Erie are generally calling for waves over 1.5 m in height, with the Marine Forecast predicting the possibility of 2 to 3 m waves on the open lake.
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. Should the predicted winds of 50 km/hr from the southwest appear, significant flooding would occur. Many properties would have standing water and water would 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 the roadway. Such freezing conditions could occur along any low-lying shoreline areas, but Erie Shore Drive is particularly at risk for this.
Currently, winds are predicted to have dropped off enough before switching to the west later Thursday and there are not expected to be issues for the Lake St. Clair shoreline in the LTVCA jurisdiction.
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 January 22, 2021.
Message contact: Jason Wintermute (email@example.com)