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

In many communities along the southern regions of the St. John River basin, water levels have yet to reach their highest forecasted levels.

Residents living near the St. John River system should continue to exercise extreme caution and remain alert to rising water levels over the coming days.

Anyone who has not taken the necessary precautions should act now to prepare for flooding and heed voluntary evacuation warnings from local officials, including those in at-risk areas who have never experienced flooding in the past.

In Fredericton, water levels are forecast to continue to fluctuate over the coming days, but are not expected to decrease significantly.

Precipitation forecasted over the weekend could contribute to a slight elevation in water levels in a number of regions.

Potential evacuees should call Red Cross

Residents in regions 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.

To date, 360 households consisting of 851 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.

Marine operations

The Canadian Coast Guard has provided a patrol craft, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has provided six rescue boats to assist the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) in providing emergency evacuations for people who require medical care, and evacuations of residents who are unable to safely do so 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.

Darlings Island

Two boats have been assigned to the Darlings Island area. When they are not assisting with evacuations or emergency support, they are assisting local residents to safely cross from the island. There were 40 crossings completed on Friday and the service will continue to be provided as available in the coming days.

Road closures

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure has closed Route 2, the Trans-Canada Highway, 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. 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.

Sandbags available at various locations

Sandbags are available at locations across the province for residents who require them. The Emergency Measures Organization has arranged for the distribution of more than 100 metric tonnes of sand and about 350,000 sand bags. This does not include many private and corporate donations or purchases by cities and other municipalities.

For a full, updated list of locations that have sandbags available, call the Emergency Measures Organization at 1-800-561-4034.

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, 724 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.

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

The provincial government has announced a Disaster Financial Assistance Program 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.

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:

Protect your health during flood preparation

Residents are advised to be mindful of their back during flood preparation and clean up. When lifting heavy items, get as close to the load as possible, avoid picking up heavy objects placed below your knees, and keep your back straight.

If you suspect the load is too heavy to be lifted comfortably, do not take the risk. Ask for help or use a mechanical aid.

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.