The water level behind the Civic Centre in Chatham. February 25, 2018. (Photo by Natalia Vega)

Chatham-Kent Begins To Recover From Flood

Local conservation authorities and the municipality say water levels are slowly dropping in Chatham-Kent and will continue to do so with clear skies in this week’s forecast.

According to a news release from the municipality, the Thames River in Chatham reached its peak at 5.25m above normal on Saturday at 9pm. It is reported that floodwaters remain at or above the banks in many areas.

The release states that the water level in Thamesville has decreased by 1m since its peak on Saturday. In Chatham, the level has dropped about 10cm as of 11am Sunday morning.

The municipality says flooding was reported in some downtown businesses and about 13 residents were rescued from their homes, including three children.

It is reported that the high water has placed significant pressure on drainage systems and dikes. As a result, Pump Rd. between Louden Rd. and Tecumseh Line has been closed for dike repair.

The municipality is closing the John D. Bradley Centre as an evacuation location as of noon on Sunday.

Both the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) and the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA) are continuing the flood warnings for the region.

The LTVCA says most of the snow has melted on the Thames watershed and weather forecasts are calling for temperatures to remain above freezing until Friday. Clear skies are expected until Thursday when the region may see rain again.

The conservation authority says water levels on the Thames River in Chatham are now in decline after rising to around 180.2m Saturday evening. This elevation is somewhere between those observed during the floods of 1977 and 1968.

According to the LTVCA, high winds are causing fluctuating water levels around the mouth of the Thames River at Lighthouse Cove and through the lower reaches of the river downstream in Chatham. Though the conservation authority does not expect to see significant flooding there.

High water levels can be expected on the Lower Thames into the middle of next week for areas through Chatham-Kent and Lakeshore.

According to the SCRCA, water levels on the Sydenham River are receding very slowly after the extensive rain and snowmelt earlier this week. It says Saturday night’s light rainfall had minor impact on the water flows, but the strong winds on Sunday could effect the current.

It is reported that the water levels in Wallaceburg and the McKeough Dam are stable but falling very slowly. SCRCA says the gates of the McKeough Dam will continue be opened gradually until the water from the north branch of the river can safely flow through Wallaceburg.

The conservation authority says many roads remain closed due to flooding in St. Clair and Enniskillen Township.

Temperatures are expected to remain above freezing over the course of the next few days with little to no rain expected. The SCRCA says water levels across the watershed will continue to fall at a very slow rate through the weekend, returning to normal levels by later in the week.