• Strong southwest winds in the forecast beginning Friday afternoon and lasting into Sunday.
• Risk of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding along the Lake Erie shoreline, including Erie Shore Drive
• Risk of freezing wave spray
Weather forecasts are calling for strong southwest winds beginning Friday afternoon and lasting into Sunday. Sustained winds from the southwest are predicted to rise above 30 km/hr Friday afternoon and to remain from that direction with speeds above 25 km/hr all the way into Sunday. Some forecasts suggest peak wind speeds could be up to 45 km/hr with gusts up to 70 km/hr sometime Friday evening. Wave forecasts are predicting waves could reach over 1.5 m in height in nearshore areas and 3 m on the open lake. Temperatures are also expected to be below or near the freezing point on Friday and Saturday morning.
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. The area most at risk during this event is Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent. The long duration of this event with winds from the southwest 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 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 24, 2020.
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