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Ice jams, flooding in Puce after warm temperatures and heavy rain

Flooding on West Puce Road in Lakeshore on Jan. 26, 2024. (Amy Dodge/CBC - image credit)
Flooding on West Puce Road in Lakeshore on Jan. 26, 2024. (Amy Dodge/CBC - image credit)

Part of West Puce Road was closed Friday due to flooding over the road, as warmer temperatures caused ice jams on Puce River in Lakeshore and runoff from rain caused water levels to rise.

An ice jam on Puce River is shown on Jan. 26, 2024.
An ice jam on Puce River is shown on Jan. 26, 2024.

An ice jam on Puce River is shown on Jan. 26, 2024. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

A Puce resident told CBC News he hasn't seen conditions this bad in the nearly 20 years he's lived in the area.

"We have a breakwall, so we're still a foot below, but neighbours next to me [the water is] 50 feet on their lawn," said Gus Klay.

"Some of the docks have been ripped off, so it's really a bad thing."

Klay said he's spoken with neighbours who are concerned about the possibility of their basements flooding.

"The trouble is, it has rained so much there's a lot of runoff right now, and that river's swollen," he said.

Flooding in Lakeshore led to a road closure on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.
Flooding in Lakeshore led to a road closure on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

Flooding in Lakeshore led to a road closure on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Krystal Kalbol, Lakeshore's corporate leader for operations, said efforts to monitor pump and drainage systems started late Thursday night through Friday morning.

"Ice jams started to become problematic mid-morning based on the flows from upstream systems and the ice-covered conditions of the water courses," she said in a statement.

Kabol said the jams are moving downstream toward the mouth of Lake St. Clair.

"There are still some minor concerns, so we're continuing to monitor conditions," she said. "Since the morning, rain has ceased but the channels are continuing to flow based on upstream tributaries and smaller drains still trying to clear."

The Essex Region Conservation Authority has extended a watershed conditions statement for Essex County, saying up to 25 mm of rain fell across the region overnight.

"Due to the already wet ground conditions, increased temperatures causing snow melt and the presence of snow and ice in the drains, drains across the county are observed to be slow draining and bank full or near bank full," the authority said.