Haldimand-Norfolk cleans up after November gale wallops shoreline

·2 min read

The imminent threat has passed, but the cleanup continues in parts of Haldimand-Norfolk beset by high winds and surging Lake Erie waves Sunday night.

The windstorm downed trees and power lines, damaged property, and flooded streets in communities along the lakeshore.

High winds sweeping across the lake were expected to push the water level near Long Point from its average of 174.66 metres above sea level to 175.5 metres.

But Paul Gagnon of the Long Point Region Conservation Authority said the water actually reached a height of 176 metres.

“It exceeded the forecast,” he said.

That spelled trouble for residents who live near the shore or moor their boats in the Port Dover marina, which saw a dozen boats capsize and an internet tower toppled.

Norfolk County spokesperson Matt Terry said Monday afternoon that county staff were out assessing damage in Long Point, where roads were flooded and Hastings Drive remained closed.

All access points into Turkey Point were blocked late Sunday into Monday as work crews cleared fallen trees and debris from the roads. Turkey Point Road, the main route into the beach town, was reopened by Monday afternoon.

In Port Dover, flood water pushed uphill into the downtown core, testing the strength of the sandbags business owners and residents had stacked against their doors. The storm knocked concrete benches off their moorings and flung some of the wooden benches dotting the pier into the lake.

Three waterlogged streets near the lakeshore were still closed to traffic on Monday as the waves slowly receded.

Roughly 10,000 customers in Norfolk lost power, with thousands still in the dark as of Monday.

Classes were cancelled at three west end Norfolk schools due to power outages.

Norfolk County OPP said the 911 switchboard was inundated with calls during the storm, with downed hydro wires and trees trapping some residents in their cars.

The LPRCA ended its flood warning Monday afternoon, but low-lying areas near Lake Erie are under a flood watch until further notice because of water levels the agency says “are expected to remain near record highs over the coming months.”

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator