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Warm Spell May Cause Rise In Water Levels

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority is keeping an eye on water levels as the municipality experiences a brief warm spell.

According to the conservation authority, daytime temperatures are expected to reach around 5 C on Wednesday and could reach 7 C on Thursday before dropping back below freezing on Friday.

The forecast for Thursday afternoon and overnight calls for up to 20 mm of rain. The safety bulletin states that there is currently somewhere around 20 mm of water stored in the ground’s snow. If the municipality sees significant rainfall, it will cause the snow to melt and water levels will rise on the region’s smaller watercourses.

The news release says the Indian-McGregor Creek Diversion Channel in Chatham may need to be operated on Friday and the conservation authority is preparing for that. Since there are still significant amounts of snow and ice in the region’s smaller watercourses, there is the potential for blockages that will cause further drainage problems and flooding.

The conservation authority says the predicted warm weather and rainfall is not expected to raise water levels enough on the Thames River to cause flooding. However, there is still up to 20 cm of ice in some places on the river, which could melt and cause unsafe conditions.

People should take extra caution around the river, ditches, and streams. The combination of slippery banks, unstable ice, and fast-moving water can be dangerous. Children and pets should be kept away from the water.

Long-term forecasts are predicting significant rainfall early next week that could lead to more flooding. Officials will continue to monitor the situation and update this advisory as necessary.

The conservation authority says his message will remain in effect until Saturday.