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

Residents in southern regions of the St. John River basin should be on high alert, as water levels are forecast to increase in several areas. Water levels in some areas are expected to exceed 2008 levels, and the number of road closures is expected to increase.

Residents who have experienced flooding in the past should expect to experience similar or worse conditions over the next few daysin communities including Jemseg, Gagetown, Hampstead, Belleisle, Oak Point, Grand Bay-Westfield, Quispamsis and Saint John, as well as in smaller communities in these respective regions.

Residents in southern regions can begin to make arrangements with the Canadian Red Cross by calling 1-800-863-6582.

In the Fredericton region, water levels are forecast to remain at their current levels, but these elevated levels are expected to continue over the coming days without significant signs of receding. There is still snow in northern regions, which will contribute to sustained flows as it melts.

Other watercourses at risk include:

  • Nashwaak River
  • Salmon River
  • Middle River (Bathurst)
  • Tetagouche River (North Tetagouche Road)
  • Nerepis river

As elevated water levels continue to impact communities, residents are reminded that it is important to follow safety measures and instructions from officials, respect barricades, and avoid dangerous situations that may put the safety of themselves and others at risk.

Residents are asked to be patient over the days ahead as officials continue to monitor the situation and manage response operations. Residents are asked to check on neighbours who may require assistance.

The Canadian Red Cross can help

Residents who are affected by flood water 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 assistance.

Thirty-eight households, consisting of 83 people, have registered with the Red Cross.

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, 104 NB Power customers have had their services disconnected due to flooding, most of them in the Fredericton region.

If residents see water encroaching on their property and are concerned about potential power outages, they can 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.

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.

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.

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

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

Road closures – Respect closure notices

Drivers must follow closure notices and are not permitted to move or drive around barricades. Ignoring or moving these barricades is an offense and offenders will be charged. Drivers are also asked to obey changes to speed limits. A list of the latest road closures is available online.

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

Drivers are advised to 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.

Report damages

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

Service New Brunswick TeleServices line will be available to receive calls between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Damage Report Line program will allow residents, tenants, small businesses and not-for profit organizations to receive information and register their flood-related damage with a single phone call.

The damage assessments will be reviewed and health and safety inspection teams may be dispatched if required.

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

The River Watch program is a joint effort involving the Department of Environment and Local Government, New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization of the Department of Justice and 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, are available online.