• Strong winds in the forecast beginning overnight tonight and lasting into Sunday.
• Strong risk of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding along the Lake Erie shoreline, especially Erie Shore Drive
• Risk of freezing wave spray
Weather forecasts are calling for strong winds from the southwest starting overnight tonight and lasting into Sunday. Most forecasts suggest winds will climb above 30 km/hr Saturday morning and not drop back below until the overnight period. Some forecasts suggest the high winds could begin earlier tonight or extend into Sunday. Depending on the forecast, peak winds Saturday afternoon are predicted to be in the range of 35 to 45 km/hr with winds potentially gusting up over 60 km/hr. There could also be periods where the winds are more directly out of the south. Forecasts are suggesting waves on Lake Erie would exceed 1.5 m in height in nearshore areas with waves up to 3 m on the open lake. Temperatures are also predicted to be well beneath freezing point Saturday morning and right around freezing for the rest of the event.
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. The long duration of this event with winds from the south should be expected to increase the amount of flooding along Erie Shore Drive.
In addition, the freezing temperatures means that wave spray and flood waters could freeze against structures and across the ground leading to treacherous walking and driving conditions. Environment Canada’s Marine Forecast has a Freezing Spray Warning in effect. Residents should pay attention to local conditions and be prepared.
People should take extra caution and avoid the shoreline. 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 17, 2020.
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