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Wet weather prompts flood warning, road closures, possible evacuation in London area

Heavy rain and melting ice creates widespread flooding in London, Ont.
Heavy rain and melting ice creates widespread flooding in London, Ont.

It’s been a soggy day in and around London.

As rain continues to pound the region, OPP and fire officials have set up a command post south of St. Thomas amid flood concerns.

OPP say there’s a chance the heavy rain could force some residents in Port Bruce out of their homes.

“We want to make sure everyone is aware of it, and that you don’t come to this area. If you have a home in this area, just know there may be an evacuation in place shortly,” said OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor.

“It’s raining steadily, the snow is melting, and the river is high,” he said.

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A rainfall warning is in effect for Elgin county as well as London-Middlesex. There will be a break from the rain Tuesday evening before it begins again overnight.

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READ MORE: Rainfall warning issued for London

Environment Canada is forecasting 50 to 75 millimetres between Monday night and Wednesday morning.

Aside from the rain, London set a new record-high temperature on Tuesday. The last record of 12 C was set in 2017, but this year, London reached a high of 15 C.

The warm temperatures along with the rainy weather have the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) on alert for potential flooding in the area.

The UTRCA has upgraded its flood watch to a flood warning.

Officials say the watershed has received 25 to 40 millimetres of precipitation since Monday afternoon, with an additional 15 to 25 millimetres forecast between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

They say the rain and an average of 40 millimetres of snowmelt are making their way through the Thames River system.

READ MORE: Double-digit temperatures forecast for southern Ontario, localized flooding in some areas

Officials say there’s a good chance of flooding in a number of watershed areas including around the north part of the Thames River near Windermere and Adelaide, in Gibbons Park and Harris Park, and also on Western University’s campus and around Wellington and Front streets.

“Our first message always is, please stay away from any watercourses or the river because the banks are very slippery, the levels are going to be very high, and the water is going to be moving very quickly,” said Teresa Hollingsworth, manager of community and corporate services with the UTRCA.

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Areas in the city of Woodstock near Cedar Creek at Southside Park could see flooding, as could the Avon cemetery in Stratford, and the Stratford Golf and Country Club, said Hollingsworth. She added the St. Mary’s Golf and Country Club, and on Thomas Street between Park and Queen streets in St. Mary’s, could also be affected.

“We want people to be mindful of these areas because they are very low-lying flood-prone areas,” she said.

READ MORE: Consistent snow could hinder Friday commutes in the London area

The UTRCA says stream banks are very slippery, the water is fast-moving, cold and dangerous, and any remaining ice cover is unstable and thin.

Residents are urged to keep children and pets away from all watercourses.

“Don’t drive through any deep standing water, and never go around a barrier,” said Hollingsworth.

“Be aware it is raining on snow. The levels are high now, but they are going to get higher.”

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The rain coupled with fast melting snow has prompted several road closures in the city.

The following roads are closed as a result of high water levels:

– Hamilton Road between Commissioners and Clarke roads
– Dingman Road between Old Victoria and Highbury roads
– Westminster Road east of Wonderland Road
– Third Street between Dundas Street and Parkhurst Avenue
– Pine Street at Hume Street and Adelaide Street
– Hume Street at Sycamore Street

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– With files from Jess Brady, Jaclyn Carbone and Scott Monich