Flooding concerns rise ahead of heavy rainfall

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo /chalabala

With significant rainfall still in the forecast, local watercourses are expected to rise and possibly spill over the banks.

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority and Essex Region Conservation Authority both issued updated flood watches on Saturday.

The Lower Thames watershed has received 15 to 35 millimeters of rain in the last 24 hours, which is more than the Upper Thames watershed received. With potential thunderstorms expected to affect some areas, conservation officials are expecting an additional 15 to 25 mm over the next 24 to 36 hours.

In order to address the flooding concerns, conservation officials are planning to operate the McGregor Creek Diversion Channel either late Saturday afternoon or evening. However, water from the Thames River should still be expected to rise and flood the sidewalk along the river in downtown Chatham.

High water levels may also cause some areas of Wallaceburg to experience flooding. The St. Clair Conservation Authority issued a flood watch on Saturday, stating that more rainfall expected over the weekend may lead to elevated water levels on the Sydenham River, which may result in water breaching the riverbank.

The heavy rainfall this weekend may have a greater impact along the Lake Erie and Lake St.Clair shorelines. Conservation officials said because the lake levels are already high, rainwater will not be able to properly drain.

Flooding in low-lying areas is also expected in municipalities under the Essex Region Conservation Authority. Current conditions have created flood concerns for areas along the Lake St. Clair shoreline from Windsor to Belle River, Detroit River shoreline, and Pelee Island.

The Municipality of Leamington is encouraged to monitor the flood control dikes in the southeast Leamington area. Meanwhile, Windsor should monitor water levels along the flood control dikes within the Little River Drain corridor.

Flooding in some areas may cause poor drainage. Residents are encouraged to make sure catch basins and other drainage areas are clear of debris in order to avoid water from pooling. Residents are also asked to avoid the river, ditches, and streams for safety reasons.

Flood watches for the Chatham-Kent and Essex County areas will remain in effect until Monday.