Strong winds could bring more flooding to Erie Shore Drive area

Residents along Erie Shore Drive could be in for more flooding as another weather system, packing strong winds, is forecast to move through the area beginning Tuesday afternoon.

A state of emergency was declared for the Erie Shore Drive area of Chatham-Kent on Tuesday. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

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Residents along Erie Shore Drive could be in for more flooding as another weather system, packing strong winds, is forecast to move through the area beginning Tuesday afternoon.

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) issued a flood watch Tuesday morning covering Erie Shore Drive along Lake Erie and Lighthouse Cove on Lake St. Clair.

The conservation authority stated a strong wind warning had been issued by Environment Canada for both Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair beginning Tuesday afternoon and lasting through to Wednesday morning.

While the winds are out of the south and southwest from Tuesday afternoon and into overnight, the LTVCA warned there is a strong risk of flooding and shoreline damage in the Erie Shore Drive area.

The area is currently under a localized state of an emergency, declared by the municipality after several homes and cottages suffered significant flood damage from strong winds that sent powerful waves surging over the banks.

With a large number of properties along Erie Shore Drive flooded last week, the LTVCA said the area remains particularly vulnerable to further damage, as there hasn’t been time to make sufficient repairs.

Residents and emergency responders should be prepared, the conservation authority stated. For information regarding municipal services, road closures and potential evacuations, the Municipality of Chatham-Kent can be contacted at 519-360-1998.

“The timing of the highest winds varies significantly by forecast because they are associated with a potential thunderstorm system, but all are in agreement that at some point this afternoon or this evening, strong sustained winds from the southwest will climb above 30 km/h,” the LTVCA stated. “At their peak, these southwest winds could exceed 40 km/h with gusts of over 60 km/h. As the system passes through, winds will shift to the northwest for Wednesday morning.”

Waves of one metre are predicted on Lake Erie during this stormy period while waves could reach 0.5 metres on Lake St. Clair.

“Throughout this period, strong winds will be driving waves onto our Great Lakes shorelines in Chatham-Kent, Elgin County or Lakeshore,” the LTVCA said. “There is a risk that wave action could damage shoreline protection works and cause erosion, including along the high bluff areas.

“Low-lying areas and communities are also at risk of flooding. As the winds shift around over the next couple of days, different shoreline areas will be impacted to a greater or lesser extent.”

The LTVCA said wind forecasts are not as certain as they were for last week’s flooding along Erie Shore Drive and the forecasted waves are not as high.

“This seems to be due to a thunderstorm system predicted to pass through the region,” the LTVCA said. “This means conditions could change rapidly.”

As winds shift to the northwest on Wednesday morning, the Lighthouse Cove area in Lakeshore and the western shoreline of Lake St. Clair in Chatham-Kent could be impacted by flooding and erosion.

Residents and responders are urged to pay attention to local forecasts in case conditions change.

People should take extra caution and avoid the shoreline and any waterways with elevated water levels. The waves on the lakes can be strong, and the shoreline and the banks of waterways can be slippery. There could also be hazardous debris within the waves and water, which could be thrown onto the shoreline. Standing water can also present unseen hazards. Children and animals should be kept away from the water.

The flood watch remains in effect until Thursday, and officials will continue to monitor the situation and update this advisory if necessary.