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'Angry' Lake Erie prompts evacuations amid flooding, hurricane force winds

Friday, November 1st 2019, 10:30 am - Residents in Port Colborne were asked to voluntarily evacuate their homes as waters from Lake Erie surged past the shoreline early Friday.

The powerful and far-reaching Halloween storm spared no parts of Ontario from some sort of impact on Thursday night. Heavy rain, snow and wind have taken a toll across the province as the start of November begins with extensive clean-up efforts.

SEE ALSO: Damaging winds, snow make a mess of the start of November


Wind gusts were at their highest across much of the Niagara region and wind warnings remained in effect through the early morning hours on Friday. That's as southwesterly gusts near 90 km/h were expected to persist before gradually weakening throughout the day.

A peak gust of 130 km/h was reported in Port Colborne late Thursday night, where residents were asked to voluntarily evacuate when the already swollen waters from Lake Erie surged well past the shoreline on Belleview Beach Road early Friday.


Flooded houses along the Lake Erie shoreline between Dunnville and Port Colbourne - Mark Robinson

"Lake Erie is still hovering around an all-time record high, so the rapid increase in wind speeds Thursday night nearly guaranteed the threat for coastal erosion and flooding along shoreline communities," says Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.

At the peak of the storm, wave heights of eastern Lake Erie hit 16.5 feet, with sustained winds of 100 km/h recorded for several hours.


Storm Hunter, Mark Robinson was stationed at Crystal Beach late Thursday night and described the hurricane force gusts and large waves as purely "violent."

"I've never seen anything like it here on Lake Erie," Robinson said, as the wind-whipped waves ripped over top of the shoreline rocks where he stood.

"The waves are still just hammering the rocks here," Robinson said at daybreak Friday, "and this is likely to continue until these winds start to die down. But there's still just so much energy and momentum in the lake, that this will continue to go for a while."

Downed trees and widespread power outages have also been reported across the region with officials warning residents to stay away from any downed or arcing power lines.

"Due to last night's storm, we are experiencing several road closures, downed trees and debris on roadways," the City of Port Colborne tweeted Friday morning. "Please use caution when travelling both on foot and in a vehicle."


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