Storm batters Wainfleet and Port Colborne

Storm batters Wainfleet and Port Colborne
wellandtribune.ca


A large tree fell at the corner of Catharine and Elgin streets Thursday night in Port Colborne dragging down power lines in the area. - Dave Johnson

Wainfleet residents on Beach Road East and West and Hill Avenue were asked to voluntarily evacuate their homes as Lake Erie surged well past the shoreline on Belleview Beach Road Friday morning.

Wainfleet Fire and Emergency Services firefighters were staged at the fire hall at the corner of Belleview Beach and Lakeshore Road as Ontario Hydro crews worked nearby.
Niagara Regional Police had the road shut down to prevent access, as firefighters responded to multiple calls across the lakeshore area.
 
Parts of Lakeshore Road west of Belleview Beach were completely flooded as the lake rushed up road allowances.
 
Power seemed to be out in most of the township and large blue flashes could be seen north and east of the municipality as power lines in neighbouring Welland and Port Colborne arced.
 
Both Wainfleet Fire Chief Morgan Alcock and Deputy Chief Shawn Schutten were in the lakeshore area responding to calls with their volunteer firefighters. 
 
In Port Colborne, Mayor Bill Steele said the city contacted the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, which offered its help Thursday night as the storm battered the city with winds gusting at more than 100 km/h knocking over multiple trees, downing power lines and causing power outages.
 
“We don’t think we’ll need them, but we appreciated the offer,” the mayor said.
 
And Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services Chief Tom Cartwright spoke with Niagara Region’s Emergency Management Program Specialist Patricia Martel as well during the storm.
 
Steele and Cartwright said they were looking for emergency road closure signage from the Region for the city to help reroute transport trucks headed to ADM Milling on King Street and Vale on Nickel Street.
 
They spoke with plant managers at both locations and those managers were reaching out to trucking firms to notify them of road closures and alternate routes to use for pickups and deliveries
 
Steele said the city hadn’t activated its emergency protocol system but he met with Cartwright, Deputy Chief Scott Lawson and the city’s Steve Shypowskyj at the fire hall to discuss the weather situation.
 
An acting police staff sergeant also met with the group and said officers would delay non-emergency calls to assist the fire service and city staff where needed.
“We want to make sure our staff have the tools they need out there … we wanted everyone coordinated.”
 
As of midnight, there were numerous trees and power lines down across the city and both city crews and firefighters were stretched thin responding to numerous calls in town and the rural area.
 
Steele said firefighters and city crews were using barricades to block roads and added Canadian Niagara Power would come in when it was safe to work to try and reattach downed power lines.
 
“Winds were over 80 km/h, it was not a safe situation.”
 
Steele asked that residents stay off the roads and avoid trying to see the damage or the high lake levels at H.H. Knoll Lakeview Park, which was shut down, and along the Welland Canal.
 
“We don’t want to see any injuries or accidents.”
 
Municipal gates the drains on Weaver Road and Lakeshore Road, at Eagle Marsh drain, were closed and city staff were on hand to make sure pumps were working to keep surrounding homes from being flooded.
 
The lake surged up to the walkway along Lakeshore from the former Sandy’s Surfside Restaurant to Oakridge Crescent.

This story will be updated.