Thames River in Chatham on Thursday, February 7, 2019 (Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

A flood warning remains in place by the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority for the Thames River.

Meanwhile, a flood watch remains in place for the Sydenham River.

Authorities monitoring Thames River ice jam

An ice jam developed in the Thames River near the Prairie Siding Bridge on Thursday, prompting the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority to issue a flood warning.

As a precaution, the municipality activated its Emergency Operations Centre committee shortly before 1 p.m.

Mayor Darrin Canniff said the move allows the municipality to be on alert should the jam cause significant flooding.

Members of the Chatham-Kent Fire Services and the Economic Development Services have been canvassing residents and businesses in low-lying areas to make them aware of the situation.

“There has been some flooding along low-lying area along the Thames,” Canniff said in a media release.

“We’re in constant contact with the Lower Thames Conservation Authority which is monitoring river flow and weather conditions.”

Canniff said high water levels and slippery banks make it extremely dangerous to be along the river.

“The water is extremely cold and the current is very fast. You can be swept in and lost in a matter of seconds. The best idea is to simply stay away from the river.”

Mayor Canniff said the situation is dynamic and could change quickly.

“Mother Nature is unpredictable so we are preparing for the potential for flooding while hoping it doesn’t happen.”

He urged residents with question to contact the municipality at 519-360-1998.

In case of emergency, the public should call 9-1-1.

Update from the LTVCA

LTVCA officials say last night an ice jam formed downstream of the city of Chatham around Prairie Siding.

“Late (Thursday) afternoon, the jam let loose and the ice began to move downstream. The leading edge of the broken ice has made its way into the community of Lighthouse Cove and has now stopped just before entering the lake,” LTVCA officials said in a media release.

“It is not yet clear whether the ice in Lighthouse Cove will jam and cause flooding in the community or whether river flows will pass safely underneath. Temperatures are forecasted to fall well below freezing overnight and last through the weekend. If the ice does not move out into the lake shortly, it will likely freeze in place due to the cold temperatures. Flooding as a result of ice jamming can be very unpredictable. Residents of Lighthouse Cove and other downstream communities should pay attention to local conditions in case flooding occurs.”

Flooding will still continue in a number of low lying areas within the city of Chatham, LTVCA officials stated.

“Should the ice in Lighthouse Cove jam up, water levels in the city of Chatham could begin to rise again. However, they would not be expected to rise as high as was seen earlier today. The LTVCA continues to operating the 6th Street Dam and Pumping Station to protect the south end of the city on McGregor Creek from flooding.”

LTVCA officials say people should take extra caution and avoid the river, ditches, and streams.

The combination of slippery banks, broken or unstable ice and fast moving cold water can be dangerous.

Standing water can also present its own unseen hazards.

Children and pets and livestock should be kept away from the water and ice.

Officials with the LTVCA will continue to monitor the situation and update this advisory if necessary.

This message will be in effect until February 10.

Flood watch remains in place for Sydenham River

(Dana Haggith)

The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority continues to have a flood watch in place for the Sydenham River.

No new information has been released by the SCRCA since Wednesday.

For the latest information, click here.