• Thames River has lost its ice cover downstream as far as Harwich Road in Chatham-Kent.
• Ice in the city of Chatham could break up overnight tonight or tomorrow.
• Water levels on the Thames River are expected to rise further late in the week and into the weekend.
Temperatures tomorrow are expected to rise well above freezing and remain so until Friday night. Thursday’s forecast is calling for a spike in temperatures, possibly reaching 15 ֯C, with 10 to 20 mm of rain.
Freezing temperatures over the last couple of weeks had left the Thames River with about 5 to 10 cm of ice thickness (about half the ice thickness the river had before the ice jam occurred in February). That ice has now started to melt out and break up. Lake St. Clair is currently open in the immediate area around the mouth of the Thames River and the Thames River has largely melted out through the community of Lighthouse Cove. Upstream of the city of Chatham, the ice cover has now mostly disappeared on the Thames River from the east down to Harwich Road. While the ice in the city of Chatham currently looks intact, there is chance that it could break up overnight tonight or sometime tomorrow. When it does, there could be sudden rises in water levels. Since water levels are currently fairly low, the rise may flood the sidewalk along the river, but wouldn’t be expected to go significantly higher.
Based on the weather forecasts for the rest of the week, much of the snow in the Upper Thames watershed is expected to melt and that water will add to Thursday’s rainfall. Water levels on the Thames River would be expected to rise and flood the low lying river flats from Delaware down to Chatham including the sidewalk in downtown Chatham. Water levels would be expected to remain high through the weekend. Flows on the river would be expected to break up any remaining ice on the river. Although an ice jam has not been previously observed with such little ice remaining, caution is required given the recent ice jam in February.
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. Any remaining ice cover on the river is not safe to be out on. 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 18th, 2019.
Contact: Contact: Jason Wintermute (519-354-7310 x227, email@example.com) regarding this message.