Ice breaking up along the Thames River, low risk of ice jams causing floods

Lower Thames Conservation AuthorityThe Thames River watershed received no more than 4 mm of rainfall overnight. Daytime high temperatures for today are expected to be around 2 to 5 ˚C and then to drop below freezing until Wednesday of next week. With the cooler temperatures and no significant rainfall expected until next Thursday, we can expect less snowmelt and runoff and for water levels in the river to begin to decline.

The ice cover on the Thames River has begun to break up. The river is clearing out upstream of Thamesville now and the ice is moving downstream. The broken up ice is accumulating around Scane Road as the ice between there and Chatham remains largely intact. This ice jam is causing water levels to rise upstream. At this time, flows are not high enough to present a risk of ice jam related flooding for the community of Thamesville. However, it is causing flooding of the low lying, mostly agricultural, areas adjacent to the Thames River.

From the 5th Street Bridge in downtown Chatham downstream to around Crow Road, the ice cover on the Thames River has all melted in place except for a few small accumulations around the bridges. From there downstream to the mouth at Lighthouse Cove, the ice sheet is largely intact, but significantly weakened with numerous holes in the ice opening up due to melting.

People should take extra caution and avoid the river, lakes, ditches, streams, and ponds. Ice conditions are poor and a combination of slippery banks, moving/melting ice and cold water is particularly dangerous.  Parents should pay special attention to keep their children away from the water.

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority will continue to monitor conditions and will issue additional messages as required