Flooding at Third St. bridge in Chatham. February 24, 2018. (Photo by Cheryl Johnstone).

Flooding Losing Steam In Thames River

Chatham-Kent says although the water continues to rise in the Thames River, the flooding has slowed slightly.

According to a news release from the municipality, the Thames River peaked at 7am Saturday morning in Thamesville with street flooding lower than anticipated.

It is expected that the river will peak in Chatham between 7pm and 9pm Saturday night.

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority says the water is already at the level of the 1977 flood and could raise another foot. Many streets near the river have been closed and basement flooding has been reported.

The municipality says the water is moving at a fast 800 cubic meters per second.

“There have been many individuals drawn to the river bank but we’re urging extreme caution,” says Mayor Randy Hope. “A current of this magnitude can sweep you away in a second.”

Fire and Emergency Services Chief Bob Crawford says the flooding remains critical in Chatham.

“We remain concerned about the water level and pressure on riverbanks and dykes,” he says. “Although there isn’t a problem with ice, there is the possibility of the channel being partially blocked by debris which could escalate the danger.”

The water level in Thamesville is expected to remain high for several days although Union Gas will begin turning on service on for some of the 400 customers, who had their gas turned off Friday due to the flooding.

Entegrus has turned off service to a small number of homes in Chatham. More information can be found online.

Information on personal preparedness can also be found on the fire department’s website.

The John D. Bradley Centre will remain open throughout Saturday as an emergency shelter. For more information call 1-519-360-1998.