The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) has issued a "Watershed Conditions Statement," the first level in its flood warning protocol. Such a message is released "during periods of minor flooding to report on general watershed conditions to flood coordinators, and to remind the general public of general river safety issues."
Heavy rain fell across the Upper Thames watershed throughout the evening and night of Friday, Sept. 20, and early morning of Saturday, Sept. 21.
"People are reminded that stream banks are very slippery and that water will be fast-moving and dangerous," the Watershed Conditions Statement explains. "People are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from watercourses at this time."
Totals of between 50 and 160 mm of rain have been recorded in the past 24 hours, with the average amount received across the watershed closer to 80 mm, says the UTRCA. The most rain was received across a band running from southwest to northeast, mainly across the centre of the watershed. Highest totals were received in London, St. Marys and Stratford.
"Initially, greater river flow response is being observed on the North Thames River and its tributaries," the Statement advises.
"The ground was fairly dry since the last major precipitation events, and much of this rain will be absorbed into the ground. However, water levels in streams and rivers are rising and will approach bank full conditions in isolated areas. People are reminded that stream banks are very slippery and that water will be fast-moving and dangerous. People are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from watercourses at this time."
Rain is predicted to taper off late in the morning of Sept. 21.
Fanshawe (London), Wildwood (St. Marys), and Pittock (Woodstock) Reservoirs are being operated to manage the higher flows and to reduce the potential for downstream flooding. Thames River water level information is available at www.thamesriver.on.ca/River_Levels/river_levels_start_page.htm