High water levels and ice jams lead to flooding in Port Stanley, Ont.

Rising water levels due to warming temperatures and snowmelt mixed with an ice jam have caused a flooding in Port Stanley, Ont. 

The lift bridge will be closed over the next 24 to 48 hours to prevent any damages to it

Flooding in Port Stanley, Ont. on Feb. 17, 2022. (Alex Graham)

Rising water levels due to warming temperatures and snow melts, mixed with an ice jam have caused a flooding in Port Stanley,Ont. 

An ice jam that has slowly been moving through Kettle Creek in nearby St. Thomas has caused the King George VI Lift Bridge to be closed off to pedestrians and vehicles. 

Jennifer Dow, water conservation supervisor at Kettle Creek Conservation Authority said the ice down in the creek has also started to break up, causing flooding in certain areas. 

"There's been some flooding on low lying areas adjacent to the creeks and we're just keeping an eye on those," she said. 

Dow is hopeful that the ice jam will move through the creek and get out to Lake Erie sometime overnight or into the early morning. 

She adds that's reasonably normal for these areas to flood this time of the year, and the amount of flooding largely depends on the elevation levels and the accumulation of water.

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Flooding in Port Stanley, Ont. on Feb. 17, 2022. (Alex Graham)

Dow says that all indications point to the situation slightly improving by the night with the water levels already starting to decline and once the freezing rain turns into snow, it will allow water levels to go down faster. 

The lift bridge will be closed over the next day or two in order to prevent any damage. "The ice jam is currently at the lift bridge and so it's raised at the moment," she said. 

Dow advises residents looking to get to the other side of town to use the Warren Street Bridge instead, adding that flood's impact will depend on how warm the weather gets and how quickly the storm moves through the system.  

Flood watch issued for London area 

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) is also advising residents to be careful around waterways and to stay off any frozen water bodies as ice will be unstable. 

"We're not expecting serious flooding at this time, the local stream levels are rising right now in response to the melting snow and rain that we had overnight," said Eleanor Heagy of UTRCA.   

The basin has received about 20-40 mm of rain since Wednesday evening. Water levels along the river are expected to peak around midnight on Thursday. 

"The high waters from Woodstock and Mitchell area are making their way down to the Thames," she added. 

UTRCA is monitoring the flood control reservoirs at Fanshawe, Wildwood, and Pittock conservation areas and is operating dams to reduce any impacts of flooding.