Record rainfall in some areas sets up significant flooding
LONDON, ONT. -- Record temperatures and rainfall in Southwestern Ontario have led to extreme flooding.
Water levels in London's Harris Park are as high as the fencing and at the top of the parking signs. In London, a record rainfall was set Saturday with total precipitation measuring 56.6 millimetres.
The former record was 33.2 mm of rain in 1980.
The record rainfall forced road closures in and around London including in Ailsa Craig, Thames Centre and Oxford and Perth Counties.
"We haven't seen water this high since February 2018. That was a record flow in St. Marys," says Steve Sauder of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.
Sauder was travelling around the watershed Sunday documenting the conditions. He believes there may be a new record in the Mitchell area, but the total amounts are slightly less than 2018.
"In the past 24 hours we've seen 60 to 80 millimeters throughout the watershed," added Sauder.
The pier in Port Dover was underwater as of early Sunday morning, and photographer Ethan Meleg captured some photos of a storm surge which took out the historic Lions Head lighthouse on Georgian Bay.
Back in London, police and fire were taking advantage of conditions on the Thames River to conduct rescue training.
"We are out here coordinating resources, and getting a feel for the river," says Const. Matt Hopkins of the London Police Services marine unit. "With how high the water is, we're working together on communication and rescue techniques."
Captain Jeff Johnston of the fire department's water team says they have to keep up their training and prepare for any emergency, and these circumstances are the perfect time to practice.
Both police and conservation officials want to remind the public to be safe around water, with temperatures sub-zero right now.
"We are about at the peak right now here in London," says Sauder. "It will stay like this for about the next two days. We really need people to stay well away from the waterways. The water is fast, cold, and extremely slippery on the banks, so stay well back on the waterways."
Meanwhile, there were widespread power outages Sunday morning across Grey County, including Hanover, Dundalk and Owen Sound, due to ice accretion.
Environment Canada says many communities received as much as 25 millimetres of ice accretion from the storm that whipped across the region Saturday into Sunday.