Register Now: Emergency Notification System

 Current Status

This year, the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) issued a long term flood watch for Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and Lake Erie—including the shoreline along Riverside Drive and Pike Creek. Lake levels have been receding since early October and continue to drop. The Town continues to monitor levels and potential impacts of rainstorm/wind surges. Residents are encouraged to continue to monitor the situation and follow our website and social media sites for up to date information.

On July 2, 2020, ERCA advised that Lake St. Clair surpassed last year’s monthly average record for the month of June. In the event of a strong north/northeast wind and heavy rainfall, there is a high likelihood that inland flooding will occur. How far inland, how deep the water and how it impacts the Town’s sewer systems is entirely dependent on precipitation and wind direction, intensity and duration. Inland flooding will likely occur in circumstances of sustained north/northeast winds. Lake levels are expected to peak in mid-summer due to evaporation and limited precipitation however, this does not mean lake levels will go down. Lakes could remain above the 1986 record or just below this mark for the rest of 2020 and into 2021.

Residents are encouraged to watch Accuweather for updated weather reports during rainfall or wind events.

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 or 9-1-1.

We are seeing a cycle where the snow and ice levels on all the Great Lakes were not normal or typical for many years and has continued for the 2018 and 2019 winters. Snow and ice conditions on the upper great lakes and winter rainfall in the lower great lakes has caused the lower great lakes to continue to be elevated especially Lake St. Clair. Outflows from the upper great lakes are continuing to exceed historic outflows with the outflow from Lake Huron/Michigan being at 155%.

The Canadian Government has a dedicated site on lake levels throughout the Great Lakes system.

The U.S. Army Engineers also track lake levels in Lake St. Clair and through the greater Great Lakes basin system.


 Emergency Preparedness

A brochure on current status and how to prepare for inland flooding was delivered to approximately 6,000 residences in Tecumseh in April 2020. The brochure includes details on what to prepare for, how to prepare and what happens to your property during an inland flood.

Tecumseh is strongly advising everyone within the designated flood prone area to take appropriate action to prepare for potential lake flooding. This preparation includes setting up a location to self-evacuate to, an evacuation kit and plans for potential self-evacuation. The Town is not able to offer emergency shelter at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly encourage everyone to identify a place to evacuate to safely, and a back-up in case this is not available.

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.


The Town of Tecumseh will be providing an additional 200 sandbags at no cost to properties along the Lake St. Clair/Pike Creek shoreline. Please call 519-735-2184 Ext. 142 to request your free sandbags. Additional bags can be purchased at hardware stores or online.

Home Hardware in Tecumseh sells sandbags. You may order them online or by phone or by curbside at the store. 1613 Lesperance Road, Tecumseh. 519-735-3400

Lloyd Bag in Chatham sells sandbags: 114 St Clair Street, Chatham, N7L 3H9, 519-352-9300  Toll Free: 1-800-549-2247 Details on their bag sales are as follows:

  • Quantity:  Sandbags sold in bundles of up to 1000, yet can be broken into bundles of no less than 100
  • Cost:  40 cents per bag
  • Payment:  Credit Card - MC/Visa accepted in advance of pickup
  • Residential Delivery:  No  (Commercial/Industrial, depending on quantity)
  • Shipping:  Residents can pay to have the bags shipped to their property however this may be expensive (Delivery is through Canpar)
  • Pick-up:  Customers are required to show proof of purchase and pick up at the warehouse (114 St Clair St, Chatham)

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 and at the north end of the parking lot adjacent to Carling Park on Lacasse, please bring your own shovels to fill the bags yourself and keep a 2m distance from others. 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.

 Town Work To Date

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.

Topographical and shoreline surveying was conducted in 2019 to determine areas of concern along the Lake St. Clair shoreline. That study identified approximately nine areas of concern where the shoreline was below the 1:100 year elevation of 176.390m and could potentially be a conduit for in-land flooding.

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.

Public Works and Environmental Services (PWES) have used sandbags and earth berms to shore up pump stations to prevent or mitigate overland flooding of these facilities in the event of lake flooding.

On April 16, 2020, Tecumseh Town Council held a Special Meeting to discuss the current flooding situation and impacts to the potential temporary shelter/reception centre. Council received a report titled “Amendments to the Town of Tecumseh Flood Response Plan, approved a by-law to adopt the revised Emergency Response Plan including the amended Flood Response Plan; and, approved $500,000 from the Infrastructure Reserve for the implementation of flood mitigation defences on identified properties that pose a significant risk for further inland flooding and authorized their completion.

On April 16, 2020 the Mayor issued an Order to Take Measures on properties identified within the affected area (shoreline properties along Lake St Clair and Pike Creek) to take immediate actions to mitigate the threat of flooding as directed by the Director of Public Works & Environmental Services. Immediate actions commenced on April 20, 2020 on 16 properties that pose a significant risk for further in-land flooding. These properties have been identified through means of LiDAR technology, site surveys, as well as where Town staff have observed lake waters flowing to Riverside Drive during certain weather events.

 Previous Updates

Lake Flooding Update August 6, 2019

Lake Flooding Update July 25, 2019

Sandbag Announcement May 22, 2019

Lake Flooding Update April 2020

Lake Flooding Update March 2020

 Details from Essex Region Conservation Authority

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”

TVO presented an interesting interview on "The Highs and Lows of the Great Lakes" on their show The Agenda.

 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. 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.