Sunday, September 20, 2020

State of emergency continues

(Rick Nicholls, Facebook)

The state of emergency declared in Chatham-Kent on Tuesday, August 27, is continuing on into Wednesday along Erie Shore Drive.

Chatham-Kent officials said on Wednesday the area is currently stable.

“The majority of water has drained and the lake is calm,” Chatham-Kent officials posted to social media.

“Significant damage has occurred to the roadway, supporting slope and drain; we are assessing and organizing immediate repairs. Hydro One and Enbridge Gas shut off utilities to a number of homes based on their established safety protocol; services were maintained to some homes if the home owner could prove there was not a safety issue. Damage to homes includes both structural and basement flooding.”

Chatham-Kent officials say the State of Emergency remains in place on Erie Shore Drive between Erieau Road and the Bisnett Line.

“Weather conditions are favourable at this time but expected to decline toward the weekend. Timing for repairs is weather dependent. Residents are asked to call Hydro One and Enbridge directly to reinstate their services. Uride has offered free transportation for those who request it.”

With a flood warning also remaining in place, Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) officials say based on weather forecasts, flooding along Erie Shore Drive is expected again this afternoon and this evening, similar to what occurred yesterday morning.

“Weather forecasts calling for strong winds this afternoon have not changed,” LTVCA officials stated in a media release.

“The Strong Wind warning for Lake Erie remains in effect. Yesterday afternoon, winds had subsided and switched to the west. However, for this afternoon, winds are still forecasted to switch back to the southwest and climb above 30 km/hr. Forecasts suggest winds could peak at over 35 km/hr in the late afternoon or early evening within gusts of up to 55 km/hr. Marine forecasts suggest waves on Lake Erie could reach 1.5 m in height again this afternoon. In addition, longer range forecasts are still suggesting sustained southwest winds over 30 km/hr Thursday afternoon through Friday morning.”

LTVCA officials say the winds forecasted for this afternoon are similar to those that caused extensive flooding along Erie Shore Drive yesterday morning, although from a slightly different direction.

“Flooding along Erie Shore Drive is anticipated again this afternoon and this evening,” LTVCA officials stated.

“A large number of homes along Erie Shore Drive have been impacted, many stretches of shoreline protection were damaged and even the roadway itself has been damaged. This makes the Erie Shore Drive particularly vulnerable to further flood damages as there hasn’t been time to make repairs. Residents and emergency responders should be prepared as flood conditions could be similar to what was experienced yesterday morning.

LTVCA officials say Erie Shore Drive has been closed to all traffic. Non-emergency related personnel are asked to avoid the area.

“The local state of emergency and voluntary evacuation remains in effect,” LTVCA officials say.

“Official(s) are concerned that the road has been compromised and Erie Shore Drive has been closed to all traffic. Non-emergency related personnel are asked to avoid the area. For information regarding the provision of municipal services and evacuations, please contact the municipality of Chatham-Kent at 519-360-1998.”

LTVCA officials added: “Other areas along the Lake Erie shoreline are also at a higher risk for shoreline damage, erosion and flooding in low lying properties due to the strong southwest winds.”

People are being asked to avoid the Erie Shore Drive area, LTVCA officials stated.

“The waves on the lakes can be strong, and the shoreline and the banks of waterways can be slippery,” LTVCA officials stated.

“There could also be hazardous debris within the waves and water which could be thrown onto the shoreline. Standing water can also present unseen hazards. Children especially should be kept away from the water.

LTVCA officials will continue to monitor the situation and update this advisory if necessary.

The flood warning will be in effect until August 30, 2019, LTVCA officials stated.

For road closure and evacuation information contact the Municipality of Chatham-Kent at 519-360-1998.

A press conference was at the site on Tuesday.

A link to the full press conference can be found, here.

Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls said on social media that ge visited the impacted area on Tuesday evening.

“I visited the area declared as a state of emergency and spoke with Erieau residents affected by ravaging Lake Erie high waters and strong winds,” Nicholls said on Facebook.

“The integrity of Erie Shore Drive has been compromised and if the dyke road gives way, over 1,000 acres of good farm land will be flooded and ruined.”

Nicholls said the ministry is aware that Chatham-Kent has declared an emergency.

“My thoughts are with the residents affected by flooding at this difficult time,” he said.

“The municipality has not requested any provincial assistance however the province stands ready, if asked. A field officer from the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management remains in close contact with the community leadership.”

Nicholls said residents are encouraged to contact the municipality for information about available services and assistance at 519-360-1998).

“The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre will continue to monitor the situation,” Nicholls said.

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