Potential for Significant Flooding This Weekend
Widespread precipitation is forecast across southwestern Ontario, beginning Friday morning and continuing until late Saturday. Current forecasts call for a combined total over the two days between 60 - 90 mm of rain, with the bulk falling on Saturday.
Ground conditions are generally wet and/or frozen. With the lower forecast amounts, streams and rivers will be out of bank in some areas, and inundating low lying flood plains. Should the higher precipitation forecast materialize, more significant flooding could occur.
At this time, levels are expected to remain below those experienced in February 2018. Fortunately, there has yet to develop any significant snow pack this winter in the watershed, and any flooding will mostly be driven by rain received. The current estimate of water equivalent in the snow is about 10 mm.
Peaks should develop beginning early Sunday morning in upstream areas (Mitchell, Stratford, Tavistock, Ingersoll) and during the day and into the early evening Sunday in London. River flows will remain higher than normal for several days into next week, increasing the safety risk around rivers and streams throughout the watershed.
The public is encouraged to exercise extreme caution around all local waterways. Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery and, when combined with cold, fast-moving water, pose a serious hazard. Parents are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from all watercourses.
The UTRCA’s flood control reservoirs at Fanshawe, Wildwood and Pittock Conservation Areas are at seasonal levels and will be operated to reduce downstream flooding. UTRCA officials are monitoring the situation, and will report on any changing conditions if necessary.