Winds blast Erie north shore
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.