Flood Watch Issued Until June 15th

Thursday May 30th, 2019

Posted at 7:35pm

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The Essex Region Conservation Authority has issued an extended floor watch for all shoreline areas within the Essex Region, including Pelee Island.

Areas of concern are the low lying beach communities and shoreline areas along Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, and Lake Erie, as well as
low lying areas along the downstream reaches of major tributaries.

They say that with elevated lake levels, areas that may be potentially impacted can vary from day-to-day based on wind speed and direction. Areas at risk of flooding and erosion as it relates to wind are described below:

Northeast Winds:
– Lake St. Clair shoreline from Windsor to Belle River;
– Lake Erie shoreline including Pelee Island;
– Detroit River shoreline; and
– Low-lying areas at the downstream reaches of major tributaries
North Winds:
– Lake St. Clair Shoreline.
Northwest Winds:
– Lake St. Clair shoreline from Belle River to Tilbury North.
South/southwest and South/southeast Winds:
– Lake Erie shoreline including south Pelee Island.
West Winds:
– West shoreline of Pelee Island.

The Essex Region started the month of May 2019 with Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie above the record high lake levels for May recorded in 1986. According to available data, the current average lake level through May 2019 for Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie is 175.89 m and 175.04 m, respectively. Over the past month, both lakes have risen approximately 20 cm.

Based on the current level Lake St. Clair is approximately 21 cm above the mean level for May 2018 and 6 cm above the 1986 record high. Lake Erie is approximately 16 cm above the mean level for May 2018 and 7 cm above the 1986 record high. These levels are static water levels, meaning they do not account for any wind-driven lake setup and waves.

These levels bring an elevated risk of flooding and erosion across the watershed.

According to available data from the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Environment and Climate Change Canada, the entire Great Lakes Basin exceeded the normal amount of precipitation for the month of April. Lake Erie, specifically, received approximately 37% more precipitation than the normal for the month of April resulting in above average net basin supply. The USACE is forecasting that the most probably levels for Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair fall short of record highs for the month of June and July 2019; however, Lake Erie is currently matching the record high for June set in 1986.

Both Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie typically peak during the months of June or July. Based on the current level and the potential to peak within the next two months, there is the potential for lake levels to rise further, increasing risks of flooding and erosion.

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