• A Special Weather Statement and a Gale Warning for western Lake Erie have been issued
• Peak winds may reach 70 km/hr with peak gust of 90-110 km/hr tomorrow during the day
• Winds over 35 km/hr overnight tonight through Monday.
• Risk of damage along the shoreline should the ice break up and get pushed on shore
A Special Weather Statement and a Gale Warning for western Lake Erie have been issued by Environment Canada due to very strong southwesterly and westerly winds expected tomorrow during the day. Overnight tonight, sustained winds from the southeast are expected to climb over 35 km/hr. By morning winds will have climbed to over 45 km/hr and have switched to the southwest. Currently, peak winds are expected early tomorrow afternoon with sustained wind speeds approaching 70 km/hr with peak gusts of 90 to 110 km/hr. Winds are then expected to switch to the west and drop very slowly through Monday, not falling below 35 km/hr until Monday evening. Temperatures are expected to remain above freezing until Sunday evening.
Based on satellite imagery and Canadian Ice Service reports, it appears that Lake Erie is still mostly ice covered but that the ice cover is staring to weaken. Ice along the north shoreline is still fixed in place but there may be open water further offshore. Ice cover on the lake should dampen the creation of large waves. However, the forecasts are calling for very high winds. It is not clear whether any ice protecting the shoreline would be able to withstand these conditions without breaking up.
Strong winds, and whatever waves they can produce, will be driving onto our Lake Erie shoreline in Chatham-Kent and Elgin County. If the ice along the shore can’t withstand the force, there is a risk that ice could get pushed up against the shoreline causing erosion and damaging shoreline protection works. In low lying shorelines, ice could get pushed up onto the shore potentially causing damage on the land. Any water pushed up onto the land in low lying areas would likely freeze Sunday evening creating slippery hazardous conditions. Residents along the Lake Erie shoreline should pay attention to local conditions and prepare accordingly.
People should take extra caution and avoid the shoreline should conditions get rough. The winds will be strong and the shoreline slippery. There could also be hazardous debris in water which could be thrown up onto the shoreline. Children and animals should be kept away from the water. Officials will continue to monitor the situation and update this advisory if necessary.
Contact: Jason Wintermute ([email protected]) regarding this message.
This message will be in effect until February 26, 2019.