With melted snow and heavy rains raising water levels around the city, residents in two specific areas of the city are being advised this evening of the potential for localized flooding.
John Braam, managing director of environmental and engineering services, said on Tuesday night (Jan. 29) that areas around the south branch of the Thames River — including 6 Front St. and 1 High St. in particular — “typically get high water levels” during significant rain events. And so, as the city does in situations like this, it is working with the London Police Service to advise residents of these two buildings to evacuate. Residents who need to find alternate accommodations are being referred to the Red Cross and the city will let them know when it is safe to return.
“They could potentially be flooded so what we typically do is provide notice in advance. We don’t force them out; it is just an alert,” Braam said. “Typically the issues are with respect to the flood rise and the electrical supply to their particular buildings. The activity is underway as we speak. The notices are going out.”
Earlier in the day the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) issued a media release warning of rainfall forecasts for Southwest Ontario of 10 to 15 millimetres. An additional 20 to 30 millimetres of rain is forecast for tomorrow, and 20 mm forecast for Wednesday.
The statement from UTRCA said the cumulative three-day totals could be greater than 60 millimetres, if the higher forecasts materialize. Snow pack across the watershed contains approximately 10 to 20 millimetres of additional water and will melt throughout the event as temperatures increase and rain continues.
Braam said city officials have been advised the estimates, and magnitude of the rain, are such that flood levels of a “certain range” are possible. When those levels are reached, the city will “look at evacuations of those particular areas.”
Braam emphasized those conditions had not been reached as of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, but that “we certainly expect to see them if things continue they way they have at this point in time.”
The city has referred residents who need to find alternate accommodations to the Red Cross and will advise residents when it is safe to return. City officials will continue to follow protocols related to flood control mitigation.
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