Earlier in the week, the Thames River watershed experienced a warm spell and rainfall that melted much of the snow out of the watershed. Temperatures have now fallen below freezing and are expected to remain there until Saturday when temperatures are expected to rise again. Before this warm up, many of the region’s smaller watercourses were filled with snow and ice. The Thames River at Lighthouse Cove had approximately 30 cm of ice cover and subsequent observations suggest there was between 15 and 20 cm of ice cover in areas further upstream.
Water levels had risen on many of the region’s smaller local watercourses and some spilled their banks. In some areas the situation was aggravated by snow and ice blockages in those watercourses. Water levels on these smaller watercourses are now dropping. However, the freezing conditions have the potential to slow down this drainage and to create new blockages. The Indian-McGregor Creek Diversion Channel is still operating to protect the south end of the City of Chatham from flooding.
Water levels on the Thames River have peaked in the City of London and that water is now moving downstream. Water levels are now expected to peak around Dutton tomorrow and around Thamesville and Chatham on Tuesday. Elevated water levels can be expected for several days after the peak passes. Water levels will raise enough to flood the low-lying river flats adjacent to the Thames River from Delaware to Chatham and this has already occurred in some upstream areas. The ice on the river appears to have cleared out upstream of Little John Road in Chatham-Kent. Broken up ice can be seen downstream from that location and the accumulation extends from there to just downstream of Thamesville. This has restricted water flows through this stretch and has caused elevated water levels in the area. Broken up ice is also starting to accumulated just before Kent Bridge but the river ice remains largely intact from there through the City of Chatham down to the mouth. Through the City of Chatham large areas of open water have appeared where the ice has melted out.
People should take extra caution and avoid the river, ditches, and streams. The combination of slippery banks, broken or unstable ice and fast moving cold water can be dangerous. Standing water can also present its own unseen hazards. Children and 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 January 20th, 2018.
Contact: Jason Wintermute (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding this message.