Register Now: Emergency Notification System

2019 was a year of high lake level warnings and 2020 levels are shaping up to be higher. The Town of Tecumseh is preparing for the potential of flooding from these levels in Lake St. Clair and Pike Creek and is encouraging residents along the shoreline to take appropriate action to reinforce their waterfront property. The potential for, and extent of, lake induced flooding in Town is entirely dependent on lake levels, wind direction and duration and rainfall. A strong north/northeast wind over several hours could push water up and over the shoreline. The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) continues to monitor levels and advise regional municipalities on concerns.

2020 Lake Flooding Update

The Town continues to work with ERCA on monitoring and will continue to advise of potential issues. We remind residents that when the thaws occur and lake levels rise in the spring, a north/north-east wind and/or heavy rainfall will push lake water over the shoreline and into Town. ERCA has suggested the Town consider recommending evacuation once the water levels reach six inches in the roadway. TVO presented an interesting interview on "The Highs and Lows of the Great Lakes" on their show The Agenda.

Information on Lake Flooding has been shared with local residents by both ERCA and the Town of Tecumseh:

ERCA has a flood information sheet with details on lake flooding
  • ERCA gave a presentation in Lakeshore on August 12, 2019
  • Tecumseh reported to Council in May 2019 on Town flood response
  • ERCA shared a map from their 1976 “Essex Shoreline, Flood and Erosion Study”

A strong north/northeast wind over several hours could push water up and over the shoreline and further inland into Town. If the lake levels rise higher with this wind combined with a heavy rainfall, there is a possibility even more water will be pushed into Town at a higher elevation than the 1:100-year Lake St. Clair flood elevation of 176.400 metres. Residents are encouraged to watch Accuweather for updated weather reports during rainfall or wind events.

The Town of Tecumseh has been responding to higher water levels in the Great Lakes system since early in 2019. Projects completed to date include: providing free sandbags and sand to residents along the shorelines of Lake St. Clair and Pike Creek; conducting topographical surveys of the shoreline to determine critical areas for protection; shoring up pump stations and clearing drainage channels; and, developing a Flood Emergency Response Plan which was approved by Council on July 9, 2020.

As a result of the topographical study and historical data, the Town has developed several maps depicting the depth of surface ponding at the elevation of 176.390, if there is a lake induced flooding event caused by a strong and sustained North or Northeast wind.

The actual areas of impact and depths are entirely dependent on variables such as wind speed, rate and volume of water that may breach break walls, and whether there is a concurrent significant rainfall event. We want residents to prepare for any eventuality and be ready to evacuate flooded areas quickly.

Depending on depth of flooding, there will be an additional impact on the Town’s storm and sanitary sewer systems which may result in sanitary surcharging into basements. The Town has developed a map that shows the areas of potential impact as well as evacuation routes and evacuation centre at the former St. Anne’s school site at 12050 Arbour Street outlining this information. The Red Cross strongly urges residents leaving the flooded area notify them at the evacuation centre that they are safe and no longer in the area. This will assist rescue crews in the event they must go into the impact zone to assist residents.

Emergency services request that residents do not call 9-1-1 for basement or property flooding. All resources will be focused on rescue operations, road closures and ensuring crews have access to equipment that will assist with flood response.

The Town will provide regular updates on the situation to the media and via electronic channels. We strongly encourage residents to seek out information through local radio and television stations, on our website or via social media rather than calling Town Hall as we will be focusing all our resources on the safety and security of our residents and ensuring all systems are working to respond to the flood emergency.

Flood Safety Information

As part of the Flood Preparedness, the Town has been working with local utility companies on how to ensure safety for property owners. Essex Power and Enbridge are part of the response team and have provided locations of underground/grade level utilities that could pose a safety risk during a flood.

For homeowners, safety is paramount as water rises. Do not enter your basement if you believe that the water has risen above the electrical outlets, electrical panel or any electrical devices. Electricity can move through water or wet flooding and cause serious injury.

If you are evacuating and see a downed powerline in the roadway with water, turn around and take another route of evacuation. If you are unable to turn around and it is safe to leave your vehicle, exit safely, go to a dry location and call 9-1-1.

Following a flood, you will need to have your property assessed and repaired by a licensed electrical contractor. Depending on the impact in Tecumseh, we will continue to work with Essex Power to reconnect power. Details on that will be determined following a flood event.

If you believe there has been a gas leak at your property, exit immediately and call 1-877-969-0999.

Flood Evacuation Preparedness

The information provided is meant to help residents prepare for the potential flood event and be able to evacuate quickly. Several municipalities throughout Ontario suffered serious inland flooding this spring with catastrophic impacts to homeowners, families and pets. Should an emergency be declared and an evacuation of flooded areas be made, you will have limited time to gather your things and leave quickly. We encourage residents to have a Flood Evacuation Plan including an evacuation kit for every member of the family (pets included), a designated place to go outside of the evacuation area and family/household communication-reunification plan. We encourage everyone to seek out family and friends outside the evacuation area who may be able to provide shelter in this situation.

The Town has worked with Emergency Services and the Red Cross to identify an evacuation centre at the former St. Anne’s school site at 12050 Arbour Street. Evacuated residents may stay in this location temporarily and there will be a designated area to shelter pets. We strongly encourage residents to seek out their own shelter if available prior to using the temporary location. The Red Cross Evacuation Centre will also take information from residents who have evacuated to mark them as safe in the event of a rescue in the impact zone.

We also encourage relatives, friends and neighbours of elderly, vulnerable or limited mobility residents who may not have access to the internet or transportation to work with these individuals to ensure they are receiving information, are prepared for an evacuation and have assistance to evacuate in the event of flooding. If you know of an individual who may have difficulty evacuating, please consider them in your evacuation plans or check that they have a plan in place for their safety.

Elderly or limited mobility residents who need assistance in an evacuation scenario are encouraged to call Town Hall at 519-735-2184 Ext. 109 or Ext. 101 to register for evacuation assistance.

All storm and sanitary systems are operating normally and our crews continue to monitor the lake levels and weather information to take appropriate action where needed. This situation is directly a result of high lake levels. Following are links to information to assist with flood preparedness:

Lake Flooding Update August 6, 2019

Lake Flooding Update July 25, 2019

Sandbag Announcement May 22, 2019

Sand bags

The Town of Tecumseh will be providing an additional 100 sandbags at no cost to properties along the Lake St. Clair/Pike Creek shoreline that collected them last year. For those property owners along the shoreline that have not collected sandbags, 200 free bags will be provided with sand available for free at Lakewood Park. Sandbags may be picked up at Town Hall Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Photo identification showing proof of address must be provided to collect the sandbags. Additional bags can be purchased at hardware stores or online.

Sandbags are being provided to shoreline properties to prevent the water from flooding in from the lake. They are not a protective measure for basement and property flooding. Purchased sandbags are of best use around garage doors and window/door jams to protect from poor seals.

Sand is currently available at no cost in the Lakewood Park South parking lot, please bring your own shovels to fill the bags yourself. Sandbags not provided by the Town may be filled at this location as well.

The U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers has excellent information on how to build a sandbag wall properly.

Property Protection

There is a high probability during a lake flooding event that the sanitary system will be inundated with lake water. This will cause surcharging of the system and create an increased risk in basement flooding for the areas directly impacted by the lake flooding event as well as those properties who may not be experiencing surface flooding. The diagram below depicts the storm and sanitary systems and the services leading to private properties. While the Town has undertaken considerable efforts to reduce the amount of inflow and infiltration of extraneous flows that enter the sanitary system, a major overland flooding event does increase the likelihood of the sanitary system surcharging.

For additional information on how to reduce basement flooding in your home, access the following publications: Handbook for Reducing Basement Flooding and Protect your Home from Basement Flooding.

Current conditions in Lake St. Clair indicate a high probability a flood is likely during a north or northeast wind event. Our neighbouring municipalities have had lake flooding impacts this year resulting in road closures and impacts to facilities. We want our residents, property owners and businesses to prepare for a flood situation should it occur. The wind direction, weather and storm activity will dictate how deep and to what extent inland flooding is experienced. Evacuation and flood notification will be sent directly to contacts in our Emergency Notification System and posted on our website and shared on social media.