Strong winds could cause flooding, erosion issues along Lake Erie throughout Saturday

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Wind forecasts for Saturday along the north shore of Lake Erie has prompted the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority to issue a shoreline condition statement – flood outlook.

Forecasts are predicting sustained wind speeds will rise above 30 kilometres per hour some time Saturday morning or early afternoon. However, there is some uncertainty amongst the forecasts about how high the wind speeds may get and how long that may last,” conservation authority officials said.

Several forecasts predict that sustained wind speeds could peak around 45 km/h, with gusts around 65 km/h, at various times from early Saturday afternoon through into the overnight period.

The winds are expected from the southeast Saturday morning, shifting throughout the day and becoming southwesterly in the afternoon and westerly overnight, the authority said.

Forecasts for Lake Erie are generally calling for waves above one metre, possibly reaching as high as two metres. Forecasts are also calling for 10 to 15 millimetres of rain during this period.

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Due to high lake levels, there is a risk that wave action could damage shoreline protection works and cause erosion all along the Lake Erie shoreline in Chatham-Kent and Elgin County, including along the high bluff areas,” the conservation authority said.

There is also a risk of flooding along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent. Forecasts suggest winds will be strong enough and from a direction that could produce flooding from Saturday morning all the way into the overnight period.

The lower end of the forecasted wind speeds would not be expected to produce significant flooding at this time of the year due to lower lake levels,” the authority said. “However, winds with speeds in the upper end of the forecasted range could produce more significant flooding in the area. Residents and workers in the area should still be prepared for some risk of flooding.”

Currently, winds are not predicted to be from a direction that would cause issues for the Lake St. Clair shoreline in the Lower Thames Valley jurisdiction.

People should take extra caution and avoid the shoreline should conditions get rough. The waves can be strong and the shoreline slippery. There could also be hazardous debris within the waves and water which could be thrown onto the shore. Standing water can also present unseen hazards. Children and animals should be kept away from the water.

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