London, Ont., warning about dangers near river, ponds as weather changes

The Thames River, looking east from the area of Wonderland Road and Riverside Drive. Liny Lamberink / 980 CFPL

Warmer temperatures are prompting the City of London and the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTCRA) to warn residents about the dangers of being on or around all bodies of water due to hazardous river banks, thinning ice and potential flooding.

With warmer temperatures and rain expected over the weekend, residents are being asked to avoid all bodies of water, including stormwater management ponds, all watercourses and frozen water bodies.

Environment Canada reports the area will have temperatures around 7 to 8 C with overnight lows of -2 C.

The UTRCA reports that the London area could experience between five to 10 mm of rain making any ice cover weak and unstable.

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“We remind everyone that rivers, streams, ditches, and ponds will be hazardous,” said Teresa Hollingsworth, UTRCA’s manager of community and corporate services.

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“Parents are encouraged to keep children and pets away from all watercourses and off of frozen water bodies.”

The mix of rain and warm weather will make the banks adjacent to rivers and creeks very slippery and, when combined with cold, fast-moving water, pose a serious hazard, a release from the city said.

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People are being encouraged to keep children and pets away from all watercourses and off of frozen water bodies.

According to a UTRCA snow survey conducted on Feb. 17, the watershed snowpack contains the equivalent of more than 60 mm of water. In a statement, the UTRCA said while there is the potential for flooding, the current weather forecasts suggest a gradual snowmelt over the next few weeks.

The UTRCA’s flood control reservoirs at Fanshawe, Wildwood, and Pittock Conservation Areas are at seasonal levels and will be operated to reduce any downstream flooding.

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