The Thames River in downtown Chatham near the 5th St. Bridge, on February 23, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Cryderman)

Flooding To Reach Peak In Chatham

Conservation officials say no more flooding is expected on the roads in Thamesville, but Chatham has yet to reach its peak.

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) has updated the flood warning for Chatham-Kent, as well as Elgin and Middlesex counties.

According to the conservation authority, there are large amounts of flooding in the Thames River watershed due to warm temperatures, melting snow, and heavy rainfall over the last week. The LTVCA says most of the snow in the Lower Thames watershed has melted and there is no longer any ice cover on the Thames River.

Weather forecasts are calling for daytime highs above freezing this weekend with a chance of rainfall anywhere between 5 and 30mm.

According to the LTVCA, water levels on the Thames River in upstream areas have dropped. On the Lower Thames, water levels through Middlesex and Elgin have also peaked and are now dropping. However, water levels are still high on the Thames River throughout most of the Lower Thames.

The LTVCA says there is no longer flooding expected on roads in Thamesville.

Along the Thames River in Chatham, water levels are already higher than those seen in 2008 and 2009. Current forecasts suggest that water levels may still reach as high as the 1968 flood if they climb another 60cm from the levels recorded Friday night. The peak of the flooding in Chatham is now expected Saturday evening.

According to the municipality’s roads supervisor Darrell McGee, Thames St. between Third and Fifth St. bridge is completely under water. He says Kent, Pit, and Siskind St., as well as Pegley Tunnel, will also remain closed.

It is also reported that Jane St. is still closed. Another municipal official Doug Hastings says the intersection of London and Victoria St. has water on the corners, but the two main lanes are still good to travel through.

Kent Centre to River Line will remain closed between Mull and Bedford St. due to water on the road.

While most of the smaller local watercourses that drain into the Thames River had started to decline, water is now backing up these watercourses and may cause flooding in nearby areas. High water levels can be expected throughout the weekend in the Lower Thames and into early next week for areas through Chatham-Kent and Lakeshore.

Residents with properties near watercourses should secure or remove items that could become loose or damaged by flooding. They should also 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, floating debris, and fast moving cold water can be dangerous. Children, pets, and livestock should also be kept away from the water.

This message will be in effect until Sunday and updated as necessary.