Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope has declared a state of emergency due to the imminent threat of flooding along the Thames River.

 Hope is requesting an immediate voluntary evacuation of the community of Thamesville.

"Information received from the Lower Thames Conservation Authority (LTVCA) indicated the Thames River will peak near Thamesville sometime between six and nine p.m." he said. "We are recommending a volunteer evacuation and urging residents to prepare to leave as soon as possible."

The LTCVA issued a flood warning at 8:20 p.m. Thursday and is in effect until Saturday.

The LTCVA has indicated there may be a half-meter of water throughout the community later Friday, but warned that number is subject to change.

"As much as we have scientific predictions, there are still variables," says Hope. "We need residents to leave sooner rather than later in case the situation deteriorates."

Mayor Hope said the John. D Bradley Centre is will be opening at noon as an emergency shelter for residents who aren't able to stay with friends or relatives in unaffected areas.  Residents who want to use the shelter should call 519-360-1998 for details.

"We are asking residents to take a 72 hour supply of medication and personal items with them since the water may remain high for several days.,” says Hope.

Volunteer firefighters are in the process of going door to door in the village.

Mayor Hope said the municipality has activated its emergency procedures and officials are working closely with police, fire and EMS sectors as well as the LTVCA.

The LTVCA says as the peak passes Thamesville, water is also expected to back up local creeks into the community and cause flooding. 

Based on past flooding events, water levels at the center of the community can be expected to be between 0.3 m and 0.5 m deep. 

These depths of flooding would be somewhere between what was experienced in 2008/2009 and the 1977 flood.