Early spring melt underway
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Feb 11, 2009  |  Vote 0    0

Early spring melt underway

St. Marys Journal Argus

The warm weather of late has certainly been welcome ' but it's also causing water levels to rise, according to the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA).Temperatures are expected to reach the double digits today (Feb. 11), and coupled with the forecasted light rain, will melt much of the  snow cover throughout the Upper Thames basin. Mark Helsten, UTRCA's senior water resources engineer with the UTRCA, says that "there is approximately 25 per cent less water in the snow pack than there was before the December 2008 flood. A more moderate runoff event is likely, but that will depend on the weather."The severity of the flooding will depend on total rainfall over the next few days, how cool it gets each night, and how warm it gets each day. If the current forecasts are accurate, watercourses are expected to flood out of their banks in low lying areas known to traditionally experience flooding each spring, such as in parklands and agricultural areas. Helsten expects flooding to begin Wednesday and remain high throughout the rest of the week, as temperatures return to near the freezing mark and snow and rain persist into Thursday. The UTRCA's flood control reservoirs at Wildwood (Trout Creek near St. Marys), and Pittock (South Thames River in Woodstock), and Fanshawe (North Thames River near London) have significant (over 90 per cent) storage available to reduce impacts of flooding downstream.  People are warned to stay away from ditches, streams, rivers and ponds as the combination of slippery banks and fast-flowing water is very dangerous. Parents in particular are urged to keep their children away from floodplain areas.Current Thames River flow and meteorological information can be viewed online at www.thamesriver.on.ca ' click on "Thames River Levels".

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