Your weather when it really mattersTM

Country

Please choose your default site

Americas

Asia - Pacific

Europe

Fury on Lake Erie: Are destructive storms the new norm?

Thursday, November 28th 2019, 12:10 pm - The seriousness surrounding the Great Lakes and storms going forward is something that can't be overlooked.

On October 27th, the first of two major storms hammered into Southern Ontario, driving the waters of Lake Erie into a maelstrom.

Three days later, a second, more powerful storm struck, once again battering the northern shores of Lake Erie.

I was on hand to intercept both storms and what I saw made me think; Are we seeing a new normal? Are these storms going to be more common in the future?

This is not the first time November has begun with storms and isn’t going to be the last.

As the second storm drove towards Ontario, record high water levels -- the highest since 1985 -- on the Great Lakes, specifically Erie, meant that flooding damage was a very real possibility depending on how powerful the storm was.

And the storm looked to be one of the strongest to strike Southern Ontario in many years.

Flooding at the western end of Lake Erie is driven by fast-moving air sweeping around the centre of the low-pressure system. This river of air pushes the water ahead of it, acting similar to storm surge in a hurricane.

This “surge” is known as a seiche and Lake Erie, given it’s shallowness and orientation to the prevailing winds of big storms, is very vulnerable to them. Waters that seiche as much as 16 ft above the average can flood communities like Fort Erie and Buffalo.

WATCH BELOW: THE SCIENCE BEHIND A SEICHE, SEE HOW THIS CAN CAUSE MAJOR GREAT LAKES FLOODING

As long as the high water levels in the Great Lake persist and fall storms roar across Ontario, the flooding of the eastern end of Erie will continue.

According to the IPCC, climate change will increase the amount of precipitation in Eastern North America, likely keeping the water levels high.

These storms aren’t unusual on Lake Erie in the fall, but how much damage these events are doing seems to be increasing. As more and more people move to the shores of the Great Lakes, these storms are going to have an ever-increasing impact on Canadians.

POWERFUL WINDS WHIP LAKE ERIE ON NOVEMBER 27:

Default saved
Close

Search Location

Close

Sign In

Please sign in to use this feature.