Some Chatham-Kent residents return to flooded basements after evacuation
Some Chatham-Kent residents are returning home after being evacuated due to flooding.
Siskand Court residents headed back home Monday after they were forced to leave Saturday due to rising water levels from the Thames River. Some residents still have flooded basements.
Hydro and gas remain off, preventing much of the cleanup.
Flood victims who were able to get gas powered generators are trying to pump water out of their homes.
"You know if I had my way I would have stayed here and kept pumping,” says resident Mark Green.
Neighbours stress how thankful they are to first responders for their help this past weekend, saying it was hard to leave their homes but knew they had to.
Municipal officials say the Thames River reached its peak about 9 p.m. Saturday at 5.25 meters (17 feet).
More than a dozen people, including three children, were rescued from their homes in Chatham. Some downtown businesses also reported flooding.
Officials say the high water has placed significant pressure on drainage systems and dikes.
Ontario's Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro toured Thamesville and Chatham on Monday to see the flood damage first hand.
Mauro calls the flooding a “traumatic experience” and he adds provincial assessment teams should be in the region this week to assess the damage.
The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority downgraded the flood risk to areas like Lighthouse Cove, but Water Management Supervisor Jason Wintermute says there is still a great risk associated with the high water levels.
“Stay away from the river, it's fast, it's cold,” says Watermute. “Now that the water has receded it's put a bunch of mud up on the banks and it's going to be even more slippery than before.”
Chatham-Kent Fire Chief Bob Crawford reminds people to remain a safe distance from the river banks.
“We don't want to relive any tragedies as we've seen in other parts of the country where unattended children, people can slip in, elderly, anyone that is a vulnerable part of our community.”