Leamington flooding May 02, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Annie Letkeman)

Flood watch issued for Windsor area shores

A flood watch has been issued for all shorelines in the Windsor area.

The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) said the high lake levels and predicted winds throughout the long weekend could cause flooding in specific waterways or municipalities and municipalities, emergency services, and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should be prepared.

Major tributaries to Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, and Lake Erie are also under the flood watch for a distance of approximately one kilometre upstream from where the lake and tributaries meet.

Average daily water levels for Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie are above record highs for the month of May. The current depths for Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie are 175.9 metres and 175.05 metres, respectively.

“These high lake levels are significantly increasing the risk of flooding, shoreline erosion, and damage to shoreline structures,” said ERCA in a bulletin Friday night.

The current forecast is predicting winds to be primarily out of the east/northeast and east directions for Friday and Saturday. Those winds and rising water levels could cause waves to overtop structures, splashing and spray. Winds are expected to shift out of the south/southwest by Sunday and increase in speed, with the potential to reach gusts above 50 kilometres per hour until Monday night.

The Lake Erie shoreline, including the south and west shores of Pelee Island will be most affected.

ERCA said Windsor should monitor water levels along the flood control dykes within the Little River Drain corridor. Leamington should also monitor the flood control dykes in the Southeast Leamington area, including the Mersea Road 1 Dyke and the Marentette Dike. The southern section of the Marentette Beach Road dyke that provides protection for the inland Marentette Dyke has been damaged from recent storms and the interior corner of the Marentette Dyke is more exposed to direct wave impact from Lake Erie, increasing its susceptibility to erosion and risk of flooding. However, Leamington is working to fix the problem. The conservation authority added Pelee Island should monitor conditions along the shore, especially the areas previously damaged along West Shore Road and McCormick Road where significant erosion has occurred.

“People should take extra caution to avoid areas where flooding is occurring as well as rivers, streams, and shoreline areas during significant rainfall and wind/lake wave events,” ERCA said. “The combination of slippery banks, waves overtopping breakwalls, and fast moving water can be dangerous.”

The flood watch is expected to end Tuesday morning.