(Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

While a combination of factors continue to cause flooding in areas along the Lake Erie shoreline in Chatham-Kent, municipal workers are taking action where possible.

Municipal officials say Chatham-Kent Public Works employees were installing cement/earth barriers across the ends of several streets in Erieau on Thursday to try to mitigate flooding in low-lying areas where no break wall currently exists.

The work is designed to ensure fire lane access.

Due to record lake levels and high winds from the east, water levels in Rondeau Bay increased by 10 cm Wednesday, with approximately 15 homes affected by rising water.

No evacuations were reported.

An expected shift of prevailing winds to the south late Thursday was expected to increase the risk of flooding on Erie Shore Drive and in other communities with south facing shorelines.

A media release by the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority Thursday morning noted in part, “The Strong Wind Warning issued by Environment Canada’s Marine Forecast remains in effect. Wind speeds have dropped somewhat and switched to a more southerly direction which is providing relief to Erieau and other shoreline areas.

Winds are expected to stay strong from the south throughout the day into the overnight period. Weather forecasts are calling for a total of 15 to 20 mm of rainfall from this afternoon to tomorrow morning. Long range forecasts are calling for high winds again on Sunday similar to what were experienced yesterday.”

Residents are urged to take extra caution and avoid shoreline due to strong waves and slippery shorelines as well as hazardous debris within the waves and water that could be thrown onto the shoreline. Standing water can also present unseen hazards.

Children and pets should be kept away from the water.

Officials emphasize that the situation can change quickly and residents should be prepared.

Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services is asking residents to be aware of the following checklist:

BE PREPARED

– Move important items/documents upstairs from the basement

– Secure outdoor furniture, outdoor décor, etc. and clear the outside areas of debris

– Have a grab & go bag ready – plan for children, pets & those who may have special needs

– Make arrangements now to relocate if necessary

STAY INFORMED

– Follow local media and official social media sources

– Keep in touch with loved ones & check on neighbours

SAFETY FIRST

– Always follow the instructions from local officials

– Never drive or attempt to swim across flooded areas

– Stay away from rivers, streams and standing water

Residents requiring emergency assistance with basic needs or shelter can call Chatham-Kent Employment and Social Services during regular business hours at 519-351-8573.

After regular business hours and on weekends: Residents who feel they cannot shelter in place, and require emergency accommodation, can call the Chatham-Kent Homeless Response Line at 519-354-6628.

Pet and Wildlife Rescue (PAWR) can assist any residents that require emergency assistance with pet and/or animal care.

PAWRs can be reached at (226) 996-9969 during regular business hours or at 519-784-6146 (after-hours emergency contact number).