Given the summer weather and potential for storms, conservation authority officials are urging residents to be cautious as conditions change.
The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority issued a standing message for the month of July, stating that record high water levels on Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair could bring the risk of flooding and erosion, especially during sustained high winds.
“With such high water levels, shoreline areas are highly vulnerable to shoreline damage, flooding and erosion,” the conservation authority stated in a release. “There are currently low-lying shoreline areas in the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority jurisdiction that are constantly under water, including some roadways. People should try to avoid these areas if possible.”
In May, Lake Erie broke the all-time monthly average record set in June 1986. Since the end of May, average water levels on Lake Erie have risen approximately 10 centimetres.
On Lake St. Clair, average water levels at the end of June exceeded the all-time monthly record set in October of 1986 by about 8 cm.
Overall for the Great Lakes, average water levels at the end of June were above the June average monthly record highs for all lakes. Water level forecasts suggest that by the end of this month, Lake St. Clair will be at roughly the same water levels, whereas Lake Erie is expected to have fallen by about 10 cm.
Onshore winds forecasted above 25 kilometres per hour are likely to start causing problems, with the areas most frequently impacted being Lighthouse Cove, when winds are out of the north or west; Erie Shore Drive, when winds are out of the south; the bay side of Erieau, when winds are out of the east or north; Shrewsbury, when winds are out of the east; and Rose Beach Line, when winds are out of the east.
“Pop-up thundershowers are not always forecasted and the sudden strong winds associated with them can produce unpredicted waves and water level changes that impact shoreline communities,” the conservation authority stated. “Heavy rains associated with thundershowers could also cause flooding in low-lying shoreline areas.”
Due to these levels, the groundwater table is high, and stormwater sewer systems and local watercourses are full with lake water.
As a result, rainwater is not draining properly from these areas. Any water making its way downstream on these watercourses into these shoreline areas could cause additional flooding.
Residents are asked to contact the municipality should unexpected flooding and/or erosion occur that may impact roadways and other public infrastructure.
They should also use caution around the shoreline and any waterways.