FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Emergency Measures Organization is advising New Brunswickers to prepare their properties for heavy rainfall over the next few days.

People living near the St. John River and tributaries should remain on alert, as water levels are near or above flood stage in many regions.

Residents in the southwestern part of the province should also ensure they have everything they need to sustain themselves for up to 72 hours, including food, water, medication, batteries and other necessities. Significant rainfall and winds bring the risk of power outages.

Rainfall amounts of at least 50 mm are forecast for most of the southern half of the province by Saturday evening. These amounts could approach 100 mm over southwestern regions. The rain will continue Saturday night before easing up Sunday morning. Weather forecasts and projected rainfall amounts, especially for southwestern regions, are being monitored for any unexpected changes.

People are reminded that the best way to access emergency services is to call 911.

Residents should take appropriate actions to protect their properties by clearing drains and securing items which may be prone to damage from wind and rain.

People with basements prone to flooding are reminded to protect their belongings by moving them to higher ground. Residents should also avoid going into flooded basements where water may come into contact with electrical systems. Should floodwater come close to electrical systems, residents are advised to contact NB Power.

Residents can report any issues related to increased water levels or flooding at any time by calling 1-800-561-4034.

The rainfall will make driving conditions hazardous. Motorists should adjust to driving conditions.

The following reminders are issued for motorists:

  • Visibility can be severely reduced during downpours; reduce your speed.
  • Watch for wildlife on roads. Some animals are seeking higher ground as their natural territories are covered by water.
  • Watch the roads for standing water, which could cause hydroplaning.
  • Be on the lookout for washed-out road shoulders and culverts.
  • If you see debris on the roads, or damaged culverts, report it to your local authorities or police.

High water levels have led to some road closures. Drivers in the Maugerville area should be cautious as sections of road from Bluebird Corner to Jemseg are covered by water. As a result, speed limits have been reduced to 50 kilometres per hour.

Drivers should obey road signs indicating the presence of water and the changes in speed limits. When possible, drivers should avoid any roads covered by water, as it represents a serious safety risk. Water may be deeper than it appears, and may conceal sinkholes or other damage and debris.

A list of the latest road closures is available online.

New Brunswickers should continue to monitor conditions and local forecasts. Read helpful tips, the latest forecasts and public advisories by visiting the River Watch website, or by following the Emergency Measures Organization on Twitter and Facebook.

New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization director Greg MacCallum and Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Claude Côté will be available to speak with news media at 3 p.m. TODAY, Friday, May 5, at the Fredericton Convention Centre, Nashwaaksis “A” Room, 670 Queen St.