• Snow has mostly melted out of the Upper Thames watershed now
• Spring freshet is underway now.
• Water levels on the Thames River are peaking in London and the peak will move downstream over the weekend.
• Limited flooding of the Thames River flats
• Thames River should be expected to rise up enough to flood the sidewalk along the river in downtown Chatham this weekend.
Warm temperatures and sunshine last week had melted most of the snow in Lower Thames watershed, and melted out most of the ice on the Thames River. At that time, significant snow still remained in the Upper Thames Watershed. However, warm temperatures over the last few days have now melted most of the snow in the Upper Thames watershed as well. As a result, the spring freshet has now begun. However, this year’s spring freshet is not associated with a significant rainfall event and as a result is expected to be far less severe than the last few years. In addition, there is no rain in the forecasts for the next few days.
Water levels on the Thames River in the City of London are currently peaking and that peak will move downstream over the weekend. Only the most low-lying areas of the river flats (mostly agricultural lands immediately adjacent to the river) from Delaware down to Chatham are expected to be flooded. In Chatham, the sidewalk along the river in the downtown core should be expected to flood over. With all the ice gone from the river, there is no risk of an ice jam this spring. High flows on the Thames River are not expected to impact the community of Lighthouse Cove at the river mouth. Water levels on the river could remain up into early next week.
Smaller local watercourses in the east of Lower Thames watershed have also melted out and water levels are now dropping. As the peak passes through, water from the Thames River will back up these watercourses keeping water levels up. In the west, since the snow melted out last week, those watercourses had already returned to base flow conditions. As the peak on the Thames River passes through this area, water levels on these watercourses will rise in their downstream areas where they are affected by river levels.
People should take extra caution and avoid the river, ditches, and streams. The combination of slippery banks and fast moving cold water can be dangerous. Standing water can also present unseen hazards. Children and animals should be kept away from the water.
Officials will continue to monitor the situation and update this advisory if necessary.
This message will be in effect until March 17, 2021.
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