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Wind whips up a Seiche on Lake Erie

Posted: 8:21 AM, Mar 08, 2017
Updated: 2017-03-08 08:21:11-05
Water will rise rapidly
Water will rise rapidly
Water will rise rapidly
Water will rise rapidly

Strong winds will send a slosh of water and waves into Buffalo Harbor this afternoon and evening.  The effect known as a Seiche occurs on Lake Erie when sustained winds line up out the southwest taking water from Toledo and bringing it to Buffalo.  What determines the amount of water is the strength and direction of the wind and today is setting up to be a very favorable fetch up the entire length of the lake. 

Winds will increase from breezy to windy this morning then turn strong and potentially damaging this afternoon.  Sustained winds will be 20-30mph with gusts 50-60mph will drive the water levels up by 4-6ft from where we start the morning.  This can often lead to breakwalls being swallowed by the rising water and waves, but also creates flood concerns for the shoreline as well.  Canalside is one of the locations that can see overflow with this weather scenario and the Buffalo River will appear to back up with the waves and water surging upstream.

The waves will batter the shoreline hastening erosion and can even send debris on to  area roads such as Route 5 which commonly is known as "The Carwash" during these events.  This seiche or slosh will eventually oscillate back toward Toledo later in the evening as the wind speed drops down, but the clean up can take much longer.  SkyWatch7 will be tracking the rising waters and you can stay one step ahead of the changes with the 7 FirstAlert Forecast anytime here on WKBW.com/Weather