Potential for flooding with expected rain


The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority has issued a Flood Outlook report, which is an early warning of the potential for flooding.

Currently, due to the warm temperatures and snowmelt from the upper watershed, Thames River water levels are high throughout the watershed. Since Friday, rainfall forecasts have been revised upwards and Environment Canada has issued a Special Weather Statement. Forecasts are now calling for 15 to 30 mm total rainfall this afternoon through tomorrow morning. With water levels in the river already this high, the extent of any flooding that may occur is highly dependent on how much rainfall we get.

With this rainfall, we will see increased flooding of the river flats (those being the low lying areas adjacent to the river) from Delaware to Chatham. As these areas are primarily used for agricultural purposes, people undertaking such activities in these areas should be cautious. We do not expect to see flooding of the upper tablelands.

In Chatham, the Authority is preparing to operate the 6th St. Backwater Dam at the mouth of McGregor Creek. If rainfall forecasts come in at the lower end of the predicted range, this dam may not need to be operated. If we end up getting the higher rainfall amounts predicted, we could see basement flooding to those businesses on King St. that back onto the river. Flood levels wouldn’t be expected until late Tuesday morning or afternoon.

People and their pets should take extra caution and avoid the river, ditches, and streams. A combination of slippery banks and fast-moving cold water is particularly dangerous. Parents should pay special attention to keep their children away from the water.