Thames River floods after nearly 70 mm of rain

London won’t see water levels recede for two or three days, according to officials with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA), after nearly 70 millimetres of rainfall over the weekend.

56.6 mm recorded on Saturday alone, says Environment Canada

Saturn Playground at Greenway Park in London, Ont. was under water Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 after heavy rainfall led to the flooding of the Thames River. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

London won't see water levels recede for two or three days, according to officials with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA), after more than 70 millimetres of rainfall over the weekend.

According to Environment Canada, London received 56.6 millimetres of rainfall on Saturday alone. That shattered the same-day record of 33.2 millimetres set in 1980. London also set a new record for the most rain ever recorded on any day in January. The old record was 45 millimetres set on Jan. 4, 1993.

Teresa Hollingsworth, a spokesperson for the UTRCA, said the flooding event is similar to one in February 2018 – except that there was no snow.

"This was largely, well completely, a rain event. So that made this one a little bit different," she said.

Thames River flooding in January

3 years ago
Duration 1:29
Heavy rainfall led to the Thames River flooding in London, Ont. on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020.

Hollingsworth said flood plains across the watershed are inundated, and that there's a lot of standing water.

"There's still water coming down from northern parts of our watershed, and they're moving very quickly."

Two rescued from river

Hollingsworth's message for London is one about safety. She said the ground and banks are slippery, and she's reminding people to resist the urge to get near the water.

The dangers were clearly illustrated Sunday when two kayakers had to be rescued from the Thames River near Riverbend by London firefighters.

The two men -- both in their 50s -- were suffering from hypothermia, firefighters said. It's estimated the men were in the frigid waters for close to 40 minutes. They were rushed to hospital by paramedics. One has since been released. The other is reported to be in good condition.

London Fire Department platoon chief Colin Shewell said it was a close call. "It's a stark reminder to wear personal flotation devices and appropriate clothing, and really be prepared for the worst."

But Shewell said no one should have been on the river on Sunday because of the "incredible current" in the water.

"You shouldn't even be close to the river, so give it its space and respect."

Shewell said he hopes the two men are thankful for the resources that were deployed to rescue them. And he credited seamless work by multiple agencies, including the London Fire Deparment, London Police and Middlesex-London paramedics.




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