For immediate release
St. Thomas – Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is monitoring a strong, rapidly-moving low-pressure system that is forecast to bring blizzard-like conditions, rain and gusty southwesterly winds to the Great Lakes region.
Areas along the Lake Erie shoreline will see strong, sustained winds from the southwest ranging from 50-65km/hr with higher gusts of 90-100km/hr possible beginning Friday afternoon and continuing all day Saturday, peaking Saturday afternoon, and continuing overnight into Sunday. The gusty winds will diminish Sunday evening as the system makes its way east. ECCC’s Marine Forecast has issued a Gale Warning for all of Lake Erie due to southwest winds approaching 75-80 km/hr on the open lake, from Saturday afternoon into the overnight.
“Port Stanley is especially vulnerable to winds over 50km/hr from the southwest, which means with the current forecast, there is a higher potential for flooding and erosion along the shoreline,” says Jennifer Dow, Water Resources Supervisor for the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority. In addition, Lake Erie is mostly ice-free meaning that there is no shore ice to reduce the erosive power of potential surge.
Storm surge can cause shoreline erosion, and damage to shoreline structures due to damaging waves and localized flooding. Based on the current forecast, flood uprush activity could impact low lying areas along the Lake Erie shoreline in particular around the traffic circle and the lower section of William Street in Port Stanley. Residents are urged to monitor their local conditions and take appropriate action should conditions change.
Residents should take extra caution to avoid areas where flooding is occurring during significant wind events. The combination of slippery banks, waves, waves overtopping shoreline structures, and fast-moving water can be dangerous. There could also be hazardous debris within the waves and water which could be thrown onto the shore. Standing water can also present its own unseen hazards. Children and pets should be kept away from flowing or standing water as well as shoreline areas.
KCCA staff will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates as warranted. This Flood Watch for the Lake Erie Shoreline will remain in effect until noon, Monday, January 15, 2024. For further updates, log on to www.kettlecreekconservation.on.ca or connect with Kettle Creek Conservation Authority socially on Facebook and Twitter @KettleCreekCA.
Water Resources Supervisor
The Kettle Creek Conservation Authority issues three levels of messages:
- Watershed Conditions Statement: a general notice of weather conditions that could pose a risk to personal safety or which have the potential to lead to flooding. There are two variations of these:
- Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety: High flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected
- Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook: Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.
- Flood Watch: Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.
- Flood Warning: Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities and individuals should take action to deal with flood conditions. This may include road closures and evacuations.