Warm temperatures, melting snow and heavy rainfall over the last week have led to large amounts of flooding in the Thames River watershed. Pretty much all the snow in the Lower Thames watershed has melted and there is no longer any ice cover on the Thames River. Weather forecasts are calling for daytime highs above freezing this weekend with a chance of rainfall anywhere between 5 and 30 mm. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement calling for 10-20 mm overnight through early tomorrow morning.
Water levels on the Thames River in upstream areas have dropped. On the Lower Thames, water levels through Middlesex and Elgin have also peaked and are now dropping. However, water levels are still high on the Thames River throughout most of the Lower Thames.
The peak flows reached Thamesville around 7:00 this morning and are now declining very slowly. With the ground being saturated and Cornwall Creek already filled with flood waters backed up from the Thames River, any additional rainfall may create increased water levels in the community. These increases will depend on the intensity and amounts of rainfall received.
Along the Thames River in the City of Chatham, water levels have already exceeded those observed in 1977. Several low lying roads and buildings along the Thames are already experiencing flooding; including but not limited to Siskind Court, William and Water, Salter, Pegley, and the low portion of Thames St along the river. The river can be expected to rise another 6 inches to a foot in the next 12 hours. This could put water levels on the river as high as those observed in 1985. It should be noted that the forecasted additional rainfall may increase water levels on the river.
While most of the smaller local watercourse that drain into the Thames River had started to decline, with high flows of the river, water is now backing up these watercourse and may cause flooding in adjacent areas. Additional rainfall may cause water levels to rise on these watercourses. These increases will depend on the intensity and amounts of rainfall received.
High water levels can be expected on the Lower Thames into the middle of next week for areas through Chatham-Kent and Lakeshore.
Residents with properties that back onto watercourses and the river should secure their properties and remove any items that could be damaged by flooding or get loose and become floating debris. Attempts should also be made to ensure that catch basins and other drainage works are free of debris and can function properly.
People should take extra caution and avoid the river, ditches, and streams. The combination of slippery banks, floating debris, and fast moving cold water can be dangerous. Standing water can also present its own unseen hazards. Children, pets and livestock 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 February 27th, 2018.
Contact: Jason Wintermute (firstname.lastname@example.org, 519-354-7310 x227) regarding this message.