• Strong Wind Warning in effect for western Lake Erie
• Easterly or northeasterly winds between moderate and strong in the forecast tomorrow, potentially lasting through Thursday.
• Risk of shoreline damage, erosion and/or flooding all along the Lake Erie shoreline, including the high bluff areas, as well as in Rondeau Bay
• Flooding and shoreline damage possible in many shoreline communities including: the bay side of Erieau, Shrewsbury, Rose Beach Line, and the Wheatley area
A Strong Wind Warning has been issued by Environment Canada for western Lake Erie. Weather forecasts are calling for easterly and northeasterly wind with speeds between moderate and strong beginning tomorrow and potentially lasting all the way through Thursday. Winds are currently gentle from the northeast and are predicted to remain so for the rest of the day. Tomorrow morning winds are predicted to increase in speed, possibly exceeding 30 km/hr in the morning. For the next few days, winds are generally predicted to remain from the east or northeast and above 30 km/hr. There may be periods with lighter winds, or shifts to the southeast, and some forecasts suggest winds could peak as high as 50 km/hr with gusts up to 75 km/hr. Waves on Lake Erie are expected to be in the 1 to 1.5 m height range over the next couple of days, with the potential for larger waves should we get higher wind speeds. In addition to the winds, there is between 50 and 100 mm of rain in the forecast that could lead to additional flooding that will be addressed in a separate Flood Watch.
While winds are out of the east, they will be driving waves onto our Lake Erie shoreline throughout Chatham-Kent and Elgin County. There is a risk that wave action could damage shoreline protection works and cause erosion all along the shoreline, including along the high bluff areas. There could also be flooding in low lying shoreline areas. The wind direction and wind speeds, tomorrow and potentially lasting through Thursday, have previously produced flooding in the Rondeau Bay communities of Shrewsbury and on the bay side of Erieau. Given the forecasts, there could be flooding in these communities lasting from Sunday right through into Thursday. The Rose Beach Line area and areas around Wheatley are also at greater risk from these easterly winds. The forecasts suggest that for most of this event, Erie Shore Drive would be sheltered but there is still some risk there if winds switch to the southeast. Shoreline areas on Lake St. Clair in the LTVCA jurisdiction would also be sheltered from this wind event. The extended period of time that winds are out of the east could lead to impacts beyond what is typically expected for these wind speeds.
The impact of the heavy rains could be worse in low lying shoreline areas and communities. Due to the high lake levels, the groundwater table is high and storm water sewer systems and local watercourses are full with lake water. As a result, rainwater is not draining properly from these areas. This alone could lead to additional ponding and localized flooding. In addition, any water from upstream making its way downstream on these watercourses into these shoreline communities and areas could cause additional flooding. The community of Shrewsbury is one example of such a community that could be affected by this.
Residents and workers in shoreline areas 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. 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 May 24, 2020
Message Contact: Jason Wintermute (email@example.com)