Flood watch issued for parts of Chatham-Kent

Strong waves in Lake Erie. (File photo courtesy of Cindy June via Facebook)

Rain and wind in the forecast have prompted the local conservation authority to issue a flood watch along the Lake Erie shoreline.

The Lower Thames Valley Conversation Authority (LTVCA) issued the watch Wednesday morning for Erie Shore Drive, Shrewsbury, and local watercourses throughout the watershed.

Strong winds are predicted for Thursday morning into early Friday, peaking at 45 km/h with gusts of 65 km/h Thursday evening. During this time, waves could reach two-metres in height on the lake.

“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 LTVCA said in a release. “Flooding could also occur in low-lying, south-facing shoreline areas such as along Erie Shore Drive in Chatham-Kent.”

Chatham-Kent is forecasted to get up to 70 millimetres of rain starting late Thursday and ending late Saturday, which could aggravate the flooding situation along the shoreline, especially in low-lying shoreline communities such as Shrewsbury.

“If those volumes are realized and distributed over a short time period and given local ground conditions, there is a chance that the LTVCA may have to close the Rivard Dam and divert floodwaters from the McGregor Creek watershed around the City of Chatham.¬† LTVCA staff will be monitoring the situation and act according to how it plays out.”

Up to 95 millimetres of rain is predicted for the upper Thames River watershed, east of Chatham-Kent, which could also lead to flooding along the Thames River flats.

The watch is in effect until Sunday. Residents are reminded to pay close attention to changing weather and avoid the shoreline if conditions get rough.