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State of emergency declared in Chatham-Kent

Chatham-Kent municipal officials are warning residents that problems caused by flooding in the Erie Shore Drive area are expected to last for another few days.

The municipality declared a state of emergency around noon Tuesday, as a result of high water and strong winds that caused flooding in the area.

Erie Shore Drive has been closed from Bissnet Line to Erieau Road.

Officials asked Chatham-Kent residents to voluntarily evacuate, with emergency crews having gone door-to-door to assist with the evacuation.

During a Tuesday media event, Chatham-Kent police chief Gary Conn explained that 10 of the approximately 40 affected households have chosen to remain.

He added that those 10 households have been informed that power will be temporarily cut off.

The municipality is providing shelter and transportation for affected residents and their pets.

Conn said the municipality will keep residents updated, saying he’s not sure when evacuated residents will be able to return.

“We’ll keep them apprised,” he said.

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said the municipality will need provincial and federal assistance to deal with the emergency, adding the municipality is “reaching out to our MPP and MP to talk to them [and find out]… how can we work together.”

Coun. Mary Clare Latimer told reporters that officials have noted the “resilience and collaboration” of residents.

“We’re not underestimating anyone’s efforts here, least of all the residents,” she said. “They’re a resilient bunch … it’s heartbreaking [and] disheartening for all of us.”

Due to the conditions and potential continued road deterioration, the area’s water supply may be affected. Water pressure will be reduced by the municipality to protect the line and the roadway in the event of a failure, but drinking water quality will not be affected.

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority issued a flood watch Monday for the region. A strong wind warning for Lake Erie remains in effect.

Chatham-Kent closed Erie Shore Drive due to flooding Monday.

According to the LTVCA, it may be the worst flooding seen in several years. Strong winds are expected to continue throughout the week.

Wind gusts up to 45 km/h and waves more than one metre in height are possible off Lake Erie.

Residents react to flooding

As waves crash against waterfront homes, property owners have been forced to watch as water seeps into their living rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and other parts of their properties.

Trevor Dixon said water had made its way into his kitchen, damaging floors. He said the flooring in parts of his home’s main level will need to be entirely replaced.

Windsor resident Terra Cadeau owns a cottage in Chatham-Kent and is part of the Erie Shore Drive Property Owners Association.

As a result of water ruining her neighbour’s steel headwall, her own steel wall gave way.

“I’m pretty confident at least 50 per cent of [my cottage] will likely go in the water, if not more,” she said.

Strong winds and waves damaged much of Shannon Westgate’s summer home on Erie Shore Drive, including her break wall, deck and new patio doors.

“It’s wet everywhere … it’s not good,” she said.

Brian Thibault recorded drone footage of some of the properties on Erie Shore Drive. showing waves crashing against the shoreline.

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