Snow squall warning, flooding fears along Lake Erie as winter wallop continues

Shaun Trudell operates a sidewalk snow plow on Dufferin Avenue in London, Ont. on Sunday January 19, 2020. Trudell was nearing the end of a 12-hour shift that began at 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning. The season's first big storm brought 20 centimetres or more of snow to London and region, causing hazardous walking and driving conditions. Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

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Flooding and more erosion is expected along parts of the Lake Erie shoreline while snow squalls are expected to blanket other parts of the London region Sunday, officials warn.

A warning was issued Saturday evening by the Long Point Region conservation authority in the wake of high winds, expected to cause waves more than two-metres high in the Long Point area.

People are being cautioned to stay away from the shorelines due to waves and high water levels, officials say.

“Flooding is expected to impact low-lying areas along the Lake Erie shoreline and lower reaches of some tributaries,” the conservation authority said in a statement.

“Wave uprush and increased shoreline erosion can be expected from this event.”

The forecast included strong southwesterly winds up to 74 kilometres/hour overnight Saturday and into Sunday and the lake is expected to rise in Long Point more than a half-metre above its current levels.

Community flood coordinators are being asked to monitor road conditions along the lakeshore and warn those residents and businesses in the very low lying areas along the lakeshore.

A large wave from Lake Erie comes crashing over a break wall behind a home on Erie Shore Drive near Erieau, Ont. on Saturday January 18, 2020. Ellwood Shreve/Chatham Daily News/Postmedia Network

Near Chatham, an area prone to flooding, was hit with heavy winds amid a gale warning from Environment Canada that sent waves from Lake Erie crashing over the break walls of homes along Erie Shore Drive, near Erieau, on Saturday.

That occurred after a flood warning from the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority. The weather left large pools of water in front of some homes along the flood-prone roadway.

It also created lake levels high enough to push waves over the pier in Erieau.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada has upgraded a severe weather warning Sunday morning from snow squall watch to snow squall warning across the region, including London.

Local OPP reported numerous crashes across Southwestern Ontario Saturday and into Sunday as the region dug out following a heavy snowfall that brought 20 centimetres or more of snow to London and region, causing hazardous driving conditions.

“The plows are out tonight, and sidewalk plowing will continue through the night,” London city hall officials wrote on social media. “Plow-mounted salt trucks are also out on main roads and bus routes.”

An overnight on-street parking ban remains in effect.