Worst is yet to come for residents along Erie Shore Drive

Flooding along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent, August 27, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Jason Homewood via Twitter)

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) is warning residents in Chatham-Kent that the flooding earlier this week along Erie Shore Drive will only get worse.

Earlier this week, emergency personnel went door-to-door asking residents to leave their homes voluntarily after the municipality declared a state of emergency. Of the 40 homes in the evacuation area, residents in 30 homes chose to leave. Only the residents in 10 remaining homes are staying put as the water batters homes rendering some unliveable. In total 42 homes have been evacuated from the area. Emergency crews went door-to-door on Tuesday to assist with the evacuation efforts in the area.

“At this moment we’re not seeing anything significant in terms of wind events over the weekend along the shoreline,” said Jason Homewood, a water management specialist with the LTVCA. “It’s expected to get much worse going into the fall. I think what we saw on Tuesday is just a glimpse of what is yet to come.”

An active fall storm season is expected throughout the region, and Homewood said he predicts there could still be potential for more damaging water levels.

Conservation officials will still need to make their rounds around the community and clear debris, before the municipality can decide on when and how they will spend the money to fix the area, which is largely underwater.

“The fear is if you fix it up now bringing in gravel and fill… it’s just going to wash away at the next storm event,” said Homewood. “We have to make some wise financial decisions.”

There is no timetable for when life may return to normal on the Lake Erie shoreline.

Anyone along Erie Shore Drive who has been affected by the flooding and requires shelter or transportation for themselves and their pets should contact the municipality at 519-360-1998 for more information.

The localized state of emergency remained in effect on Friday along Erie Shore Drive.