Last 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. 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 have returned to normal seasonal levels, except for those which are influenced by the Thames River which is still high.
Water levels on the Thames River are now in decline from the City of London down to Thamesville. Water levels around Thamesville peaked last night and are now declining there as well. Water levels in the City of Chatham are expected to peak overnight or tomorrow morning. It is expected that the water levels in the City of Chatham will rise no more than another 30 cm by the time they peak. Elevated water levels can be expected for several days after the peak passes.
Accumulations of broken up ice can be observed around the Thamesville area from just upstream of Little John Road to a few kilometers downstream of Thamesville. As water levels drop in the area, it is expected that this ice will solidify in place. 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 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.