FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following advisory was issued today by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, River Watch 2018:

After steadily rising for more than a week, water levels have reached historic highs in southern regions of the province, surpassing levels seen in 1973. With rain in the forecast, residents living along the St. John River system should continue to exercise extreme caution and remain alert to rising water levels.

The greatest concern at this time is in the South, however the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organisation (NBEMO) continues to monitor water levels in communities in the northern half of the province. The Madawaska River water level is now increasing due to an increase of water outflow from the Temiscouata Dam in Quebec and high water levels of the St. John River. This increase may affect residents living along Baisley Road in the Local Service District of Saint-Jacques. Sandbags are available for residents in the affected area. While this flooding occurs each year NBEMO is closely monitoring the situation.

The provincial government continues to consult with municipal and federal officials on relief needs, including the RCMP, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Armed Forces. The government has asked and received support from the Coast Guard, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada to provide assistance where it is most needed. The situation is being monitored closely and the Armed Forces are involved in conversations regarding relief efforts.

Potential evacuees should call Red Cross

Residents in regions experiencing or prone to flooding should strongly consider evacuation, with the assistance of the Canadian Red Cross. Residents can register and make arrangements by calling 1-800-863-6582. People who do not require accommodations are still asked to register with the Red Cross. The registry will assist the Red Cross with its support efforts.

To date, 412 households consisting of 975 people have registered with the Red Cross.

The Canadian Red Cross has announced an appeal for donations to support those affected by the flood in New Brunswick, to be used for immediate and ongoing relief efforts, long-term recovery, resiliency and preparedness. Anyone interested in donating can call 1-800-418-1111 or visit www.redcross.ca.

Sandbags available at various locations

Sandbags are available at locations across the province for residents who require them. For a full, updated list of locations that have sandbags available, call the Emergency Measures Organization at 1-800-561-4034.

Sandbags are available thanks to the many cities, municipalities and private businesses and corporations like JDI and Cooke Aquaculture who have provided more than 175,000 sandbags for distribution.

Residents are advised that as water levels continue to elevate over the coming days sandbags may become less effective as they become saturated. Residents should continue to take the necessary precautions and act now to prepare for flooding.

Marine operations

The Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans continue to work with NBEMO to provide emergency evacuations for people who require medical care or who are unable to safely evacuate on their own. Boats will also be present to provide security and patrol impacted areas.

The Emergency Measures Organization and local emergency responders also have a number of additional vessels to provide assistance in the flood zone, along with vessels from private sector companies such as Cooke Aquaculture.

Road closures

Route 10 between Chipman and Fredericton is now closed. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is working with industry in the area to bring a resource road to a higher standard so that emergency vehicles can get in and out of the community. NBEMO is also working closely with the Chipman Emergency Measures Organization who are ensuring that they can continue to offer services into the area.

The Trans-Canada Highway (Route 2) remains closed between Moncton and Fredericton in both directions. Those travelling between Moncton and Fredericton will be detoured to Route 1 through River Glade and Route 7 at Oromocto.

Drivers must follow closure notices and are not permitted to move or drive around barricades. Drivers should also avoid driving on streets with water on them as there is not only a risk to their vehicle, it also pushes water into the nearby homes. Check online for the latest road closures or call 511.

Drivers are urged to watch for wildlife on roads. The presence of wildlife on roads should be reported to local authorities.

Additional road closures are expected as water levels rise, and anyone concerned about being isolated should consider evacuating while it is still safe.

Update from NB Power

Residents are warned that there is an increased potential for forced electricity outages in some communities for safety and security reasons. To date, 797 NB Power customers have had their services disconnected due to flooding.

If residents are concerned about water making contact with their electrical equipment, they are urged to contact NB Power at 1-800-663-6272.

NB Power officials are managing water levels at the Mactaquac headpond. These levels have been lowered intentionally to allow for the passage of natural river flow.

On Saturday, high winds caused widespread power outages across the province. Crews continue to make progress on the restoration efforts. Beyond the regular complement of NB Power crews, there are 29 contractor crews helping with restoration efforts. Times of restoration are updated online.

Report issues with water

Residents can report any issues related to increased water levels or flooding at any time by calling 1-800-561-4034. In case of emergency, call 911.

A flood level forecast is available online. Residents can call 1-888-561-4048 for current flood levels.

Disaster Financial Assistance

A Disaster Financial Assistance Program has been put in place for damage caused by the 2018 spring freshet to cover losses that threaten the health and safety of individuals and communities. The program is available to anyone with uninsurable losses and is intended to help communities and residents get back on their feet after a disaster. If a property owner made an effort to buy insurance and found it unavailable or unaffordable, they will still be eligible.

Residents can report damages related to the current spring freshet by calling 1-888-298-8555 or by registering damages online.

Flood waters and potential contamination dangers

Rising flood waters may cause your community’s sewerage systems to become overwhelmed and this can lead to sewage backing up into homes or businesses. The flood water itself can also be heavily contaminated with sewage. Please be aware of the health risks associated with contamination from sewage. It can cause sickness and infections.

If sewage has backed up into your home, wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves if you are in contact with water and during cleanup.

Wash hands with warm water and soap after removing the rubber gloves.

For cleanup procedures, please refer to the Public Health website.

Free well-water testing

The provincial government is providing free testing for water from private wells that have been directly affected by recent flooding. Beginning May 17, water sampling kits will be available at Service New Brunswick Centres for owners of private wells. Residents must wait 10 days after water has receded from the well area before beginning the chlorination and sampling process.

More information regarding chlorinating and flushing wells can be found by visiting the Department of Environment and Local Government’s website.

Advice for flooded basements

People are advised to be cautious when pumping water out of their basements. Pumping it out too soon could cause structural damage or collapse the basement. As a safety precaution, basement water levels should not be more than 30 centimetres (one foot) lower than the outside water level.

The following links provide information useful to residents impacted by flooding:

Information to residents

New Brunswickers are also reminded to:

  • avoid boating, kayaking or other water activities this time of year as currents are strong. Large quantities of debris and ice have been reported coming down the St. John River, increasing safety concerns for watercraft;
  • avoid the banks of waterways as they are extremely dangerous at this time of year; and

Updates on information related to the potential for flooding or ice jams, including 24/7 emergency updates, are available online.