Winds blast Erie north shore

Simcoe Reformer - - FRONT PAGE - MONTE SONNENBERG Mson­nen­berg@post­media.com

Some streets and roads along the lakeshore in Nor­folk were closed dur­ing Tues­day’s wind storm due to wa­ter in the path of traf­fic.

Be­yond that, prop­erty dam­age in low-ly­ing ar­eas of Long Point, Tur­key Point and Port Dover was light to non-ex­is­tent.

Wind storms out of the south­east and south-west are of great in­ter­est in the lo­cal area due to higher-than-av­er­age wa­ter lev­els in Lake Erie.

The Long Point Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity re­ports that the wa­ter level in Lake Erie at the start of Novem­ber was half a me­tre above its his­toric av­er­age as mea­sured from 1918 through 2017.

And the lake is not show­ing signs of re­ced­ing. The wa­ter level in Lake Erie is 15 cen­time­tres higher at the mo­ment than it was last year at this time.

“The lake is pro­jected to stay well above the av­er­age in the com­ing months,” Matt Churly, a wa­ter re­source tech­ni­cian with the LPRCA, said Wed­nes­day. “As far as the rel­a­tive size of Tues­day’s surge event, it was sim­i­lar to what we saw this past April.”

En­vi­ron­ment Canada pre­dicted peak winds along the north shore in the range of 100 kilo­me­tres an hour on Tues­day. The high­est gust lo­cally was recorded in Long Point around 2:40 p.m. at 90 kilo­me­tres per hour.

Waves can be as high as two me­tres on Lake Erie dur­ing a sus­tained wind storm.

How­ever, waves are not so much the is­sue as the north-east­erly or north-west­erly lake surge they in­duce. This be­comes a se­ri­ous ero­sion and flood­ing con­cern when wa­ter lev­els are sig­nif­i­cantly higher than his­toric av­er­ages.

The av­er­age non-surge wa­ter level in Lake Erie through Oc­to­ber was 174.57 me­tres above sea level.

The LPRCA says the high­est level ever recorded was 175.04 m in 1986. A se­vere wind storm around this time wiped out dozens of cot­tages along Hast­ings Drive and else­where in Long Point. The for­mer HaldimandNor­folk Re­gion re­sponded by im­pos­ing a haz­ard land des­ig­na­tion on Hast­ings Drive.

Nor­folk’s Fire De­part­ment pro­vides real-time in­for­ma­tion to the LPRCA about Lake Erie dur­ing wind storms. Churly said fire of­fi­cials are the author­ity’s “eyes and ears” along the lakeshore.

Churly re­ports there was wa­ter across streets and road­ways in Tur­key Point on Tues­day. As well, in the late af­ter­noon, Walker Street in Port Dover was closed to through traf­fic due to the lake en­croach­ing on the road al­lowance.

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