Eastern Canada grapples with flooding as long weekend gets going
Friday, April 18, 2014, 10:44 AM -
Three provinces continue to struggle with spring flooding, and although the water levels have been either stable or begun to recede for many, authorities are warning people not to let their guard down.
Communities in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have had to declare states of emergencies as rising water levels threatened homes.
And the long weekend gets going, forecasters in the Prairies are keeping an eye on the region's rivers.
As the province's Emergency Measures Organization warned of ice jams on the Miramichi, St. John, Nashwaak and other rivers, the village of Sussex Corner declared a state of emergency, while neighbouring Sussex saw several homes and businesses flooded.
New Brunswick Premier David Alward toured the affected area on Thursday, warning residents to continue to be prepared.
On Thursday, rivers were at or near flood stage across the region, including the St. John as it passes through Fredericton.
The St. John reached 7.3 m in the provincial capital, but was expected to begin receding.
In the neighbouring town of Oromocto, which has also been dealing with localized flooding, two people had to be rescued after they drove their car onto a flooded road.
Two females lucky to be alive today after driving car into flood waters - car sank they had to swim to sure— Jody Price (@ChiefPriceOFD) April 18, 2014
Perth-Andover on the Upper St. John recommended a voluntary evacuation, which included St. Joseph's Hospital, with patients taken to another facility in Waterville. A voluntary evacuation was also recommended in Doaktown on the upper Miramichi.
Officials in the town of Lac Beauport, not far from Quebec City, declared a state of emergency on Wednesday.
Province-wide, hundreds of people have had to leave their homes due to flooding.
But The Weather Network's Quebec-based sister channel Meteo Media reports things are improving in two of the hardest-hit cities.
In Saint-Raymond, whose city centre was under several feet of water, an ice dam cleared Thursday, clearing the way for waters to begin receding.
And in Sherbrooke, 200 of the 600 people who were forced to evacuate were allowed to return home by noon Thursday, with more expected to go home through the day.
In neighbouring Ontario, the City of Belleville declared a state of emergency more than a week ago.
We got the chance to get in an MNR helicopter today to have a bird's eye look at the flood areas. pic.twitter.com/5ZStCMmWjK— City of Belleville (@BellevilleON) April 18, 2014
As of Thursday, levels on several of the area's rivers were still high, including the Moira River.
Officials are still asking for volunteers, adding more than 1,300 people pitched in for sandbagging and other flood prevention efforts since the emergency began.
The nearby municipalities of Tweed and Centre Hastings also declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, as did the township of Stone Mills.
Red River rising?
In Manitoba, meanwhile, the crest of the Red River is slowly working its way downstream.
On Thursday, it was expected to reach Emerson, Man., either Friday or Saturday, and Winnipeg four or five days later.
Although temperatures are expected to be warmer this weekend, with around 10 mm of rain expected, the river is still in its banks from Emerson to Winnipeg, with mostly intact ice cover.
In Winnipeg, officials said Wednesday that water levels had been rising for a week, prompting the city to activate pumping stations and other flood preparations.
The city says three properties will likely require sandbagging, with an "ice-induced" crest of up to 5.7 m at James Avenue.