Saturday rainfall breaks record in Windsor as authorities issue flood warnings

Record-breaking rainfall in Windsor, Ont. resulted in some flooding in the city and throughout the region, as Chatham gears up for more flooding in the coming days.

Windsor received 50 mm of rainfall on Saturday, breaking the previous record for this date, which was 13 mm in 1991. 

The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) says its watershed received up to 55 mm, which has led the authority to issue a flood warning Sunday for the coming days. 

"Residents should avoid the banks of the river and any of the water courses," said Jason Homewood, the water resources and regulations technician with the authority.

"It can be very dangerous."

He explained that Saturday night, officials had to close the Rivard Dam on the outskirts of Chatham to divert all of McGregor Creek watershed's flow around Chatham and avoid flooding the south end of the city. 

"The flows coming out of London are expected to peak later this afternoon and as they work their way down river, they're going to cause impact," Homewood explained.

"Thamesville is going to be fine, but when we get into Chatham, there's going to be flooding of basements for the businesses along King Street in the downtown core."

He added that the authority will also have to operate the Sixth Street Dam in downtown Chatham to keep the river water out of the south end. 

According to Homewood, as of early Sunday afternoon, the worst parts of the flooding are in the rural areas where "municipal drains and creeks are at and over capacity."

He explained that the Thames River is "steadily rising" but not impacting anything at the moment, except for some water flowing over some sidewalks along the river in downtown Chatham. 

High water levels are expected to persist in late next week throughout Chatham-Kent. The flood warning from the LTVCA will remain in effect until Thursday.

Meanwhile, Windsor city officials on Sunday said there was some minimal road flooding as a result of blocked catch basins, but "nothing untoward."

There were also some flooded basements, as a result of drainage around the homes.  

A Windsor police official says the roads were slippery "earlier," but no major issues on the roads Saturday night or Sunday morning. 

The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA) issued a flood warning Sunday morning because of minor flooding already happening in Wallaceburg, which is expected to continue over the next 36 hours.

The authority says upwards of 75 mm of rain have been received in some parts of the watershed. 

Girish Sankar, the director of water resources, says the authority will be continuing to monitor the conditions.

"We're seeing ponding waters, we're seeing minor flooding, a number of road closures.... We're also seeing saturated soil conditions across the watershed," he said. 

"We are anticipating the worst conditions [are] right now, so conditions are not going to get worse."

Westerly winds are anticipated Sunday that could create a backwater effect, elevating water levels in Wallaceburg. 50 km/h wind gusts are also expected Sunday.

That flood warning will be in effect until Monday. 

There is also a flood watch from the Essex Region Conservation Authority which will remain in effect until 3 p.m. Sunday.