Preparing residents on what to do during a storm surge (or flood uprush) was the key message during the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority’s (KCCA) public information session held at the Port Stanley Arena June 25.

Record breaking Lake Erie water levels could increase the possibility of flooded areas, especially when a static water level is pushed by wind.
Jennifer Dow, water conservation supervisor with KCCA, told residents that the current static water level of the lake – 175.18, was 83 centimetres higher than the June average based on data collected over the last 100 years. This is higher than the last high level recorded in 1986 that measured 175.04.

She explained that current water level are still climbing, and have not yet stabilized.

These high water levels increase the chance of a storm surge, which can happen quickly and without any warning, causing an uprush that will lead to flooding.

One of KCCA’s responsibilities is flood mapping and they are able to use a suite of data available to them to calculate approximately when a storm surge could occur or when flooding could affect property. Sustained winds from the southwest moving at 50 km/h or greater could cause storm surge, or flooding. The higher the static water level, combined with higher wind speeds could push the water father up on the shore.

KCCA has four elements to their water safety statement: Green (everything is normal), Yellow (water safety statement – includes early notice of a potential flood event), Orange (flood watch) and Red (flood warning).

Dow said typically water levels decrease in July and August but this year if that happens levels will still be higher than normal.

They advised there are certain things residents can do to prepare for such an event and listed the following:

  1. Clean out your storm drain to make sure water has a place to go
  2. Keep an eye on your local conditions and take appropriate action when necessary
  3. Make sure your boats and docks are secure and water craft are properly secured to their moorings and
  4. Move personal property away from areas in the floodplain

“The long-term forecast was that Lake Erie should stabilize in June, but we expect high waters to remain moving forward,” said Dow.

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