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 Thames watershed has melted and there is no longer any ice cover on the Thames River. Weather forecasts are calling for temperatures to remain above freezing until Friday. Long range forecasts are predicting clear skies until Thursday when the region may see rain again. The potentially heavy rainfall predicted for last night didn’t occur.
Water levels on the Thames River from Chatham upstream have now peaked and are in decline. In the Lower Thames, water levels through Middlesex and Elgin are down around 3 m and are now back into the low lying river flats adjacent to the river. Around Thamesville, water levels are down around 1 m since their peak yesterday.
The Thames River peaked in the City of Chatham yesterday evening at an elevation of around 180.2 m. This represents a total rise of approximately 5.25 m from normal levels. This elevation is somewhere between those observed during the floods of 1977 and 1968. Water levels are now down around 10 cm from the peak. There are still multiple road closures and flooded homes in the community.
High winds out of the west are causing fluctuating water levels around the mouth of the Thames River at Lighthouse Cove and through the lower reaches of the river downstream of Chatham. At this time there appears to be enough room in the river through the dyked portion and in the community of Lighthouse Cove that we don’t expect to see any significant flooding there.
High water levels can be expected on the Lower Thames into the middle of next week for areas through Chatham-Kent and Lakeshore.
Many of the smaller local watercourses in the downstream portion of the watershed still have high water levels as the Thames River has backed up into them. As the Thames River drops, so will the water in these watercourses.
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.