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 will continue to rise significantly over the next few days reaching or passing flood stage in several areas.  Environment and Climate Change Canada reports that rain at times heavy will continue today as additional rainfall amounts of 20 to 40 mm are expected for today and tonight. This rainfall combined with snowmelt will enhance the threat of flooding.

Residents living along the Saint John River basin, especially in the following communities should remain on high alert:

  • Saint-François-de-Madawaska,

  • Clair / Fort Kent,

  • Baker-Brook,

  • Saint-Hilaire,

  • Edmundston,

  • Iroquois,

  • Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska,

  • Saint-Léonard,

  • Fredericton,

  • Maugerville,

  • Jemseg,

  • Grand Lake,

  • Sheffield / Lakeville Corner,

  • Oak Point and

  • Quispamsis / Saint John

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 residences and roads in the coming days.

People in these areas who have experienced flooding in the past should expect to experience similar or worse conditions and are advised to know the risks, take preventative measures, and to consider voluntary evacuation if necessary.

Residents intending to relocate from their residences should be finalizing arrangements. Flood waters may rise quickly limiting access and making evacuation more difficult by increasing risks to those involved.

Residents who are getting prepared should consider in their planning that many businesses are observing holiday hours on Easter Sunday.    

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

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 now to coordinate emergency response operations as they are required.

Canadian Armed Forces involvement

A Government of New Brunswick request for assistance in dealing with spring flooding has been accepted by the federal government.

Meetings between officials with the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization and representatives of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) took place on Friday.  The CAF are undertaking reconnaissance and planning activities to determine where their assistance will be required in the coming days.

Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross is establishing 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.

Road closures

Flood waters are expected to cause road closures in the province. A list of the latest road closures is available online.

Drivers are advised to avoid any roads covered by water, as it represents a serious safety risk. Water maybe deeper than it appears and may conceal sinkholes or other damage and debris.

Drivers must follow closure notices and are not permitted to move or drive around barricades. Ignoring or moving these barricades is an offence, and offenders will be charged.

Drivers are also asked to obey changes to speed limits and to watch for wildlife on roads. Some animals will be seeking higher ground as their natural territories are covered by water. The presence of wildlife on roads should be reported to local authorities.

Call 511 for road closures and conditions or check online. Download the new NB 511 mobile application that allows users to set specific roads to receive alerts, such as road closures.

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.