Winter storm causes flooding and damage


A severe winter storm whipped through the Port Dover area all day Sunday leaving a trail of flooding, fallen trees and limbs, damaged traffic lights and commercial signs and water rescues.
Winds at Long Point registered 100 km/hour from the south-west and higher in gusts.

Left: Hours of rainfall and high winds from the south-west forced waves and water to flood the pier, Harbour Street, Walker Street and areas along the Lynn River and Black Creek. Late Sunday afternoon, firefighters rescued Sandy Brown from her home on River Drive after water with large chunks of ice trapped her inside her home.                                       Photo by Earl Hartlen

“We’ve been here 17 years and never had flooding like this before,” Sandy Brown told The Maple Leaf on Monday about her home on River Drive which fronts onto the river.
“I watched the water steadily rising early in the afternoon,” she commented. Water flooded over her concrete driveway, which it had never done before, flooded the docks, boat well and garage. The water level continued to rise with large chucks of ice up to the fourth step at her home.
“I got concerned because it had never got like that before, so I called OPP,” at about 4:30 Sunday afternoon said Mrs. Brown.
The OPP alerted Port Dover Fire Station. Mrs. Brown estimated seven or eight firefighters came to take her in their inflatable raft to the safety of higher ground. She stated, “it happened so fast!” Mrs. Brown had dinner at the Erie Beach Hotel and stayed there overnight while the water subsided.

The large exterior sign at Willie’s on St. George Street was broken by the strength of the wind in the early afternoon.
Four Knechtel family businesses in the beach area were closed Sunday afternoon about 3:30 because of high water on Walker Street and lower St. George Street; the Beach House restaurant, Knechtel Foods, Surf Shop and the Grand Trunk Station closed early.
Diane Natte told how her family rushed to the former bowling alley building used for storage by the Knechtel family in the off-season to save merchandise from water damage.
“It did not take us long to pick things up,” she stated, “because we have done it so many times.” Diane reported that the flooding water included many chucks of ice.
Peter Knechtel had concerns the flooding water was carrying large chunks of ice under the patio of the Beach House Restaurant which could inflict serious damage. “The good news is,” he confirmed “there was a shift in the wind direction later in the afternoon which carried the water out onto the beach.”
In fact, Peter noted with a smile in his voice how the trunks of the restaurant’s famous imported palm trees acted as a barrier during Sunday’s flooding. He noted that Sunday’s storm “could have been a lot worse!”
Walker Street became so seriously flooded it extended all the way easterly to Tim Hortons, causing the restaurant to temporarily close.
A traffic light at the Main and Chapman Street intersection as well as the Main and Walker St. corner were blown off their supports.
Pete Tiller of Tiller Marine on River Drive reported no damage to his property. “We knew it was coming and got all the good stuff up off the floor.” He noted a little water did get into the building.
A tree along a wooded area of Prospect Street fell across the road and was caught by the power line although it did not cause any power outages.
There are reports of many tree branches creating a mess on lawns in every corner of town.
The winds continued into Monday morning with snow flurries making visibility and road safety a concern and all schools in Norfolk County were closed for an unprecedented seventh day so far in 2019.

For more photos, see the February 27th, 2019 Port Dover Maple Leaf

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