The 2018 New Brunswick floods — one of the worst in modern history

On this day in weather history, snow was aggressively melting in New Brunswick.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


In late April and May 2018, New Brunswick experienced major flooding. The area has a history of flooding; the first recorded event was in 1696. The 2018 flood is one of the worst in the more recent years.

The Saint John River was at record-high levels, damaging homes and sewer systems along the shore.

On May 3, 2018, the City of Saint John posted to Twitter: “Evacuate today. Saint John EMO warns that water levels are rising. Residents in affected areas may lose power, water and sewer services soon. You may also be isolated and First Responders will have trouble reaching you in an emergency.”

It all started on April 23, when the accumulated snow started to melt and continued to do so rapidly. The flooding caused 80 roads and bridges to close, including the Trans-Canada Highway between Moncton and Fredericton.

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Fredericton, New Brunswick Courtesy Marc Roussell

Fredericton, N.B. Courtesy of Marc Roussell

The seven areas of the province that were impacted by the flooding were Fredericton, Maugerville, Jemseg, Grand Lake, Sheffield-Lakeville Corner, Oak Point, and Quispamsis-Saint John.

Flood evacuation areas of St John, New Brunswick, Canada, May 2018. Courtesy: Government of New Brunswick

Flood evacuation areas of Saint John, N.B., May 2018. Courtesy: Government of New Brunswick

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The flooding compromised the sewage systems, which led to water contamination. Because the sewage systems were overwhelmed, there was no place for water to go but back into houses.

“The floodwater can be heavily contaminated with sewage as a result and people need to be mindful of the health risks, the risks of infections that come with that, as well as the risk of sickness and gastrointestinal illness,” said Greg MacCallum, director of New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization.

Overall, southern areas of the province had five trying days of aggressive flooding.

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Fredericton, New Brunswick Courtesy Marc Roussell

Fredericton, N.B Courtesy of Marc Roussell

To learn more about the 2018 New Brunswick floods, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail: Bayswater, New Brunswick. Courtesy of Don McMillan