High water on the Great Lakes pose flood risk

Published: November 2, 2019

Updated: November 4, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



Water levels above the normal average on the Great Lakes and the result is increased water risk in the Windsor, Ontario area. This highlights that flood risk is not only coming from heavy rain.

The area at risk from rising Great Lake water levels is the same Windsor region that was hit by floods two years ago. During that flood event, over $100 million in insured damage was recorded.

“We are well above where we typically are for water elevations in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River,” Andrew Dowie, executive initiatives coordinator for the City of Windsor, told Canadian Underwriter.

Dowie confirmed no property damage has been reported in the City of Windsor because of water language, but the risk is obvious. For example, Dowie says there are reported of storm drains that are completely submerged, effectively becoming reservoirs for water.

In August 2017, Windows was hit by floods that ended with insured risks of $124 million. This was more than enough to be classified as a catastrophe events (CatIQ deems any weather event ending in over $25 million in damage as a cat event).

However, the 2017 flood was caused by heavy rainfall, whereas current high water is a culmination of poor weather over a period of time.

“We are affected by the same types of conditions we have seen in Muskoka and Ottawa this year, where the levels of water coming from the north, draining southward, are affecting us and there is nowhere for it to go,” Dowie said Tuesday. “It is in the Great lakes system and it is being captured here.”