Spring Melt Begins

photo by bekassine via Flickr

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority predicts mild temperatures and some rain forecast today through early next week will contribute to a snowmelt that’s expected to cause some typical spring flooding in low lying areas.

UTRCA Senior Water Resources Engineer Mark Helsten says, “We expect streams and rivers to rise, beginning during the day on Friday and continuing to be elevated into next week as the snowpack finally melts.”

Environment Canada expects overnight temperatures to remain around the freezing mark after Friday, which will temper the severity of the melting snow. A total of 20-35 mm of rain is predicted to fall between Thursday and Monday.

The UTRCA does not expect serious flooding. Its experts believe low lying areas that traditionally experience flooding in the spring runoff period will be under water. Water levels are expected to fluctuate, but stay elevated over the weekend and into next week, with the potential for multiple peaks between Thursday and Tuesday.

The UTRCA cautions that forecast rain is uncertain, and if we receive more than the current predictions, the situation could quickly change with flooding becoming more widespread.

Londoners are reminded to use extreme caution near any waterway.  Remaining ice cover is unstable and dangerous, stream banks are slippery, and water is very cold. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from the river’s edge.

Flood control reservoirs at Fanshawe, Wildwood and Pittock are at seasonal levels, and will be operated to reduce the effects of flooding. UTRCA officials are monitoring the situation and will report on any changing conditions as more detailed and confident weather forecasts become available.