Rapidly rising waters in the Thames and Sydenham River basins have resulted in local conservation authorities issuing flood warnings for Chatham-Kent.
At 11:15 this morning the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority issued a warning which reads in part "Water levels on the Thames River in London appear to have peaked now at flows that exceed those observed during the 1977 and 2008/2009 floods. However, today's rainfall might still boost flows a little more. Downstream areas should expect local flows similar to what they experienced during those events. Peak water levels are expected to reach the Dutton and Southwest Middlesex area tomorrow, and the Thamesville and Chatham areas late Friday.
Flooding within the community of Thamesville is expected. In the City of Chatham basement flooding for those businesses backing onto the Thames River along King St. is expected. The timing of that basement flooding is still uncertain and those businesses should be prepared by tomorrow morning. There is also expected to be flooding on some of the low roads adjacent to the Thames such as Siskind Court, the area around William and Water, Salter, the west of Pegley, and the low portion of Thames St along the river. Water levels in the downstream areas can be expected to remain high all through next weekend. The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority expects to be operating the 6th Street Backwater Dam and Pumping Station in downtown Chatham by this afternoon.
Accumulations of ice on the Thames River around Thamesville and Kent Bridge have now cleared and are moving downstream. Their breakup overnight caused a sudden surge or water levels in the city of Chatham that has now leveled off. Ice downstream of Chatham through to Lighthouse Cove has also now cleared and appears to be pushing out into Lake St. Clair without any signs of jamming.
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, broken up or degraded ice, 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."
For updates on Thames River conditions, visit https://www.lowerthames-conservation.on.ca/
The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority issued its own flood warning this morning noting that "Water levels on the Sydenham River and its tributaries continue to climb quickly, as a result of rain combined with continuing snow melt. Localized flooding is occurring at a handful of locations (Strathroy and Petrolia). Flooding will expand into low lying areas overnight, mostly into agricultural, parkland and floodplain areas. At 5:15 am the criteria for operation of the McKeough Dam was reached and the gates have been closed to reduce any potential residential flooding in Wallaceburg should the operating conditions be reached.
Water levels are expected to remain high for the next few days. Ice conditions have deteriorated throughout the watershed with significant thickness in the lower reaches of the Sydenham River. When this ice breaks up, ice jams are very possible and could result in minor flooding above the jams. Forecast precipitation may increase levels or prolong peak conditions into Friday."
Water levels are expected to remain high for the next few days. Ice conditions have deteriorated throughout the watershed with significant thickness in the lower reaches of the Sydenham River. When this ice breaks up, ice jams are very possible and could result in minor flooding above the jams. Forecast precipitation may increase levels or prolong peak conditions into Friday.
Additional roads may be impacted tomorrow and Thursday as flows peak in many areas of the watershed. Municipal emergency response staff and road superintendents should review emergency response plans and monitor local conditions closely."
A number of roads in Lambton County near the Sydenham and its tributaries have been closed.
For updates on Sydenham River conditions, visit https://www.scrca.on.ca/
Sections of some roads near Wallaceburg were closed earlier today. Due to the rapidly changing conditions, motorists are advised to avoid roads near waterways whenever possible, use caution and obey signage.
Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency officials are urging residents to ensure they have an emergency kit prepared. For information on what the kit should include, visit http://ckfes.ca/72-hour-emergency-kit/