Shoreline Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety
Forecast of strong winds and high waves over the next several days may cause flooding and erosion problems along the Lake Huron shoreline.
Two weather systems are expected to move through southern Ontario over the next several days. The first system will pass through the Maitland and Nine Mile River watersheds today (January 16, 2020). The cold front will bring with it strong sustained northwest winds over 40 km/hr, with gusts exceeding 70 km/hr. Winds are expected to increase through the day today, before subsiding early Friday morning.
This weekend another, a large low-pressure system will track across the Maitland and Nine Mile River watersheds, with winds over Lake Huron potentially exceeding 50 km/hr and gusting to 80 km/hr. This event is expected to be longer in duration. While the exact timing is uncertain, it is expected that strong southerly winds will veer west through the day Saturday, and strengthen overnight into Sunday with winds becoming northwest. Strong winds are likely to peak Sunday and decrease in strength by Monday morning.
The strong winds, combined with near record-high water levels on Lake Huron, will result in higher than normal waves hitting shoreline areas. Recent rains have increased the soil moisture in the lakeshore bluffs and there is currently no ice protecting the shoreline. This will increase the potential for shoreline erosion.
Please stay well back from breaking waves, and also stay away from top-of-bluff areas during and after the storm, in case there has been any movement of the lake bank. It is important to remember that there may be a delay between erosion at the toe (bottom) of the bluff and subsequent bluff failure.
The combination of high winds and cold temperatures may cause freezing spray to accumulate along the shoreline creating dangerous walking conditions. Freezing spray may also build up on low-lying shoreline structures.
This message will remain in effect until 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 20, 2020, unless local conditions warrant further updates. Maitland Conservation will continue to monitor watershed conditions and provide an update if required.
Jeff Winzenried, Water Resources Technician
Jayne Thompson, Communications Coordinator
519-335-3557 ext. 226 Cell: 519-357-6670
Types of Flood Messages:
Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety – General watershed conditions are being assessed for high runoff potential that could lead to flooding, and to remind the public of general river safety issues.
Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook – Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.
Flood Watch – Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.
Flood Warning – Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities and individuals should take action to deal with flood conditions. This may include road closures and evacuations.