Flood waters to rise in New Brunswick, more rain expected
Sunday, May 6, 2018, 5:58 PM - Water levels have now reached historic highs across the southern regions of the province, according to the New Brunswick Emergency Measures organization, surpassing levels seen in 1973's flood - previously the most significant flooding event on the St. John River.
The Canadian Coast Guard has been called to help with flood relief efforts in New Brunswick, and, on Saturday, Premier Brian Gallant said he hadn't ruled out declaring a state of emergency, or calling in the army to help, according to a CBC report.
Water levels are expected to fluctuate over the coming days in Fredericton. In Saint John, emergency officials warn that water levels will continue to rise through Monday.
"More residents will also be cut off and isolated as roads become impassable," says a City of Saint John flood update. "First responders may not be able to reach those who require emergency services (fire, police and ambulance).
- Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 2) between Moncton and Fredericton remains closed, detour details below
- N.B. Premier Brian Gallant has called for assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard
- Water levels have not yet reached their highest forecast levels along some southern regions of the river
- Water levels in Fredericton expected to begin slowly decreasing early this week
- Water levels in City of Saint John were expected to peak Sunday around 5.9 meters, 1.7 meters above flood stage
- Emergency management is warning residents that flood waters are 'highly contaminated' with sewage and pose health risks
- Click here to help flood victims
DRY STRETCH OF WEATHER
The weather will finally be on our side, as the week ahead will be a dry one for the water-logged province. High pressure will protect the region from any incoming storm. A moisture-starved cold front will descend over New Brunswick late Tuesday into Wednesday, but will likely only result in some cloud cover.
CLICK TO PLAY: SYSTEMS OVER ATLANTIC CANADA
TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY CLOSED BETWEEN FREDERICTON AND MONCTON, COAST GUARD CALLED IN
On Thursday night, the Trans-Canada Highway between Moncton and Fredericton was closed to all traffic as water levels continue to rise. The highway remained closed this past weekend, and is expected to reopen sometime later this week.
"Those travelling between Moncton and Fredericton will be detoured to Route 1 through River Glade and Route 7 at Oromocto," the EMO says.
N.B. Premier Brian Gallant announced the province was calling for aid from the Canadian Coast Guard as the province manages a "long and complex event" during the worst spring flood in over 80 years.
"It is clear that due to flooding there will be houses and families isolated. We will be managing a long and complex event, and we will need to support New Brunswickers in many ways," said Gallant. "We are therefore taking steps to increase our capability for marine operations. We have requested assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard. They have granted our request and will help us reach out to those impacted."
Six Department of Fisheries and Oceans rescue boats and one Coast Guard patrol craft have been deployed in the Grand Lake area, and one Coast Guard patrol craft will be deployed in the lower St. John River.
"Two boats have been assigned to the Darlings Island area," says the EMO. "When they are not assisting with evacuations or emergency support, they are assisting local residents to safely cross from the island."
On Friday, there were about 40 crossings completed and the service is expected to continue.
(MUST SEE PHOTOS: Images from the devastating flooding along the St. John River)
CITY OF SAINT JOHN REACHES HISTORIC FLOOD LEVEL, NO SIGNS OF STOPPING
The province is already seeing unprecedented water levels in a number of areas. Flood level in the city of Saint John is 4.2 metres, and it is expected to peak around 5.9 metres early this week.
"Saint John has already beat its flood record, Jemseg and Maugerville are certainly on the cusp, and other points like Sheffield and Grand Lake and Oak Point, they could do so as well," Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson with N.B. EMO told the CBC.
Water levels in Fredericton are expected to hover around 8 metres through Monday before starting to decline on Tuesday.
Drivers are advised to avoid any routes covered by water and follow closure notices. A list of the latest road closures can be found here.
NEW BRUNSWICK FLOODING ONGOING COVERAGE
- LATEST UPDATES
- SHOCKING PHOTOS
- BY THE NUMBERS
- SPELLING OF 'ST. JOHN' RIVER SPARKS NATIONAL DEBATE
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PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES DISASTER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The provincial government has launched a Disaster Financial Assistance program. It is available to anyone with uninsurable losses and is intended to help communities and residents get back on their feet after a disaster.
"Water levels have risen quickly over the past week, reaching and, in some cases, surpassing levels last seen during the floods of 2008 and 1973. Damage to private and public infrastructure has already been reported and is likely to increase in the days ahead," reads a statement issued in regards to disaster relief.
According to Gallant, keeping residents safe is the number one priority.
"Disaster Financial Assistance will be available to help ease the financial burden for residents who have been impacted by the flood," Gallant says. "New Brunswickers who have been affected by flooding are encouraged to contact us to see what type of financial support they can receive."
(Coming Soon: Faster and clearer weather on the web. Learn more, here)
Residents can report damages related to flooding by calling 1-888-298-8555 or by registering online.
AVOID BOATING OR OTHER WATER ACTIVITIES
Emergency officials are urging New Brunswickers to avoid boating, kayaking and other water activities as the water currents are strong.
"Large quantities of debris and ice have been reported coming down the St. John River, increasing safety concerns for watercraft," officials warn.
The banks of waterways are also extremely dangerous right now.