Tecumseh Becomes Latest Municipality to Offer Sandbags

Tecumseh is getting set to launch a sandbagging program for its residents.

The decision to spend $50,000 on the program comes after a presentation from the Essex Region Conservation Authority Tuesday night.

ERCA's Director of Watershed Management Tim Byrne has began visiting local councils with a word of warning for the upcoming summer months.

Projections show lake levels will eclipse the previous 1986 record high sometime in June, July or August.

Byrne says there have already been six flooding events in Windsor-Essex this year and there will be more to come.

"The rise in Lake St. Clair from today's level could be an additional 10 inches. It doesn't sound like much, except that right now we are already 32 inches above long-term average. We are already imminently threatened. So any additional inch is a critical factor."

He says extreme flooding is going to happen, it's just a matter of when.

"The potential for flooding is imminent. It's not a kind of thing where we're going to say, "Well, we'll be lucky and get through this again." As the level increases on Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, it only takes a breath of air in the form of a wind, so even a shallow breeze now has the potential for water to be pushed up over breakwalls."

AM800-NEWS-Essex-Region-Conservation-Authority-Tim-Byrne-May-14-2019

Essex Region Conservation Authority's Tim Byrne speaks to reporters at a Tecumseh Council meeting on May 14, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Byrne says getting sandbags in place now is a must.

"All too often we see reports of people that have these huge sandbag dykes constructed, but the time it takes to construct the dyke, you're already in the event. As the water rises, you're not going to have the opportunity to structurally create something that will sustain itself during that event."

Tecumseh is joining Lakeshore, Leamington, Essex, Amherstburg and Windsor in offering sand and sandbags free of charge to residents.

Details on where and when Tecumseh's program will be available are expected to be released in the coming days.