Emergency services officials in Chatham-Kent call flooding situation critical
The flood situation in Chatham-Kent remains dire.
While the Thames River peaked at 7 a.m. Saturday in Thamesville, the projection is that the river will peak in Chatham between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday.
A state of emergency is still in effect.
The Chatham-Kent Fire Department was on scene on Siskind Court evacuating the street. Many streets near the river have been closed and some residents were trapped in their homes.
Officials of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority said the water is already at the level of the 1977 flood and could raise another foot, putting low-lying homes, basements and streets at risk.
With a flow rate in the 800 cubic meter per second range, the waterway remains extremely dangerous, the city says.
“There have been many individuals drawn to the river bank but we’re urging extreme caution,” said Mayor Randy Hope. “A current of this magnitude can sweep you away in a second.”
Fire and Emergency Services Chief Bob Crawford said the situation remains critical in Chatham.
“We remain concerned about the water level and pressure on riverbanks and dykes,” he said. “Although there isn’t a problem with ice, there is the possibility of the channel being partially blocked by debris which could escalate the danger.”
Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope said it's important to remain in emergency mode.
"We're now focused on emergency response systems in the City of Chatham and those in the areas going down from Chatham to the lighthouse."
The only good news is that the city says the rate of the increase of floodwaters has slowed slightly.
The water level in Thamesville is expected to remain high for several days although Union Gas will begin turning on service on for some of the 400 customers which had supplies turned off yesterday due to the danger.
Entegrus has turned off service to a small number of homes in Chatham. Officials from the utility are urging anyone who has questions about their home electrical safety to contact them.
The John D. Bradley Centre will remain open through today as an emergency shelter. For more information call 519-360-1998.