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Thames River expected to peak Wednesday night in Chatham

Residents in Chatham are being warned the Thames River will peak late Wednesday night. Heavy rainfall over the weekend has caused the waterway to overflow its banks. The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) has issued a flood warning that will remain in effect until Thursday.

Downtown Chatham will flood again as river overflows its banks

Water levels along the Thames River in Chatham are rising. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Residents in Chatham are being warned the Thames River will peak late Wednesday night.

Heavy rainfall over the weekend has caused the waterway to overflow its banks. The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) has issued a flood warning that will remain in effect until Thursday.

"It was a big regional event," said Jason Wintermute, manager of watershed and information services for the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authorit, says of the rain and flood conditions.

Downtown Chatham to flood again

Within the LTVCA, upwards of 55 millimetres of rain fell from Friday night until early Sunday. And Wintermute said there's no question that downtown Chatham will flood again, as it has in the previous two years.

The Chatham area received "slightly less" rain compared to the London region. Now, all of the water is flowing down the Thames River.

"The flows, once they're in the river, they've got to keep going down the river. We already know what London got and it eventually has to make its way down here," said Wintermute.

He said it may be possible to move some buildings or infrastructure away from the Thames River to prevent water from causing even more damage. But for businesses along King Street in downtown Chatham that deal with flooding, that wouldn't be "realistic," he said.

The LTVCA has closed the Rivard Dam to protect the south side of Chatham from flooding. Officials expect to operate the Sixth Street Dam and pump station on Tuesday in Chatham to protect the same area.

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