FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following advisory was issued today by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, River Watch 2019:

Water levels in the St. John River Basin are now beyond or nearly at flood stage in several areas:

  • Clair/Fort Kent, Saint-Hilaire and Edmundston in the northern area:

  • Fredericton, Maugerville, Jemseg and Sheffield-Lakeville Corner in the southern regions.

Residents in other communities along the Saint John River system should remain on high alert over the coming days as water levels will continue to increase.

“Once again, New Brunswickers will be facing challenges due to severe floods,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “These rising waters will impact several of our communities. Residents should know that they aren’t alone in these difficult times. Impacted residents should not hesitate to seek assistance and to take steps, where safely possible, to protect their family and property.”

NBEMO is also closely monitoring other watercourses such as the Restigouche River, Middle River, and Tetagouche River where water levels and ice jams might impact some residences and roads in these regions.

Report issues with water  

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

For recorded River Watch water levels, people may call 1-888-561-4048.

Flood level five-day forecasts are available online for the Upper St. John River and the lower part of the St. John River.

Road closures

About 47 roads have been impacted so far, including 25 road closures. A list of the latest road closures is available online.

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.

Drivers are also asked to obey changes to speed limits and follow closure notices. They are not permitted to move or drive around barricades. Ignoring or moving these barricades is an offence, and offenders will be charged.

Download the new NB 511 mobile application that allows users to set specific roads to receive alerts, such as road closures.

Watch for wildlife on roads

Drivers are urged to watch for wildlife on roads. With water rising, some animals will be seeking higher ground as their natural territories will become covered by water. The presence of wildlife on roads should be reported to local authorities.

Sandbags available

Sand and sandbags are available at locations across the province for residents who require them. An updated list of locations that have sand and sandbags is available online.

NBEMO fully activated

The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, Area Command Centre, multiple Incident Command Posts, and Regional Operations Centres are fully activated to coordinate emergency response operations as they are required.

Canadian Armed Forces support

The Canadian Armed Forces are now involved and have conducted reconnaissance and planning activities to determine where their assistance most effective.

Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross has established a reception centre at the Centre Sainte-Anne, at 715, Priestman St., Fredericton.  Residents who are affected by flooding and do not have access to alternative accommodations (neighbours, friends or family) can contact the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582. They will provide emergency essential service as an auxiliary to the Government of New Brunswick.  The operating hours will be 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

NB Power

NBEMO is working closely with NB Power and the Department of Public Safety’s chief electrical inspector. If rising water is in contact with or is expected to come into contact with electrical facilities including receptacles, please call 1-800-663-6272 for an emergency disconnect.

Once water has receded, NB Power will have a reconnection process in place to ensure residents, their neighbours and properties are safe.

Residents should contact NB Power to disconnect power if they experience any of the following:

  • Their main electrical panel and/or meter and meter base are currently under water, or have been underwater;

  • The building may have been moved due to excessive water force or ice movement;

  • Visible damage to electrical service equipment on the exterior of a house, like the meter, meter base, service stack or conduits and grounding conductors;

  • The water height is above the level of electrical equipment or wiring devices like receptacles, baseboard heaters, furnaces, etc. This could also apply to sewage backup.

Tips for dealing with stress in an emergency

It is normal for residents to feel anxious about their own safety during an emergency situation, even if they are not directly affected.

People react in different ways to stressful events. It is important for residents experiencing stress to talk about their feelings of sorrow, anger, and other strong emotions.

If in crisis, there are several 24-hour emergency numbers that are available to help, including CHIMO helpline (1-800-667-5005); Tele-Care (811); and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868). More information and resources are available online.

Information to residents

New Brunswickers are reminded to:

  • Consider moving belongings to higher ground if their property is near a waterway or is in an area that is prone to flooding.
  • Avoid the banks of waterways as they become dangerous this time of year.
  • Avoid boating, kayaking or other water activities this time of year as currents are strong and may carry debris. As well, people should stay away from the edge of the river while walking.
  • 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.

The River Watch program is a joint effort involving the Department of Environment and Local Government, the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization of the Department of Public Safety and NB Power. Other partners include watershed groups, and federal, provincial and state agencies involved in monitoring and forecasting the water flow in the province's rivers and streams.

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

The livestream of today’s media event will be available online: www.facebook.com/govnb