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

Water levels have yet to reach their highest levels in a number of communities along the southern regions of the St. John River basin.

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

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, particularly those who experienced flooding last year, should act now to prepare for flooding and heed voluntary evacuation warnings from local officials.

In Fredericton, water levels are forecast to continue to fluctuate over the coming days, but are expected to remain high.

Precipitation forecast in the days ahead could contribute to a rise in water levels in a number of regions.

Residents can now report damages

Residents affected by flooding can report damage by calling 1-888-298-8555 or by registering online.

Reporting damage to the government as soon as possible is an important part of the provincial damage assessment and recovery process.

The New Brunswick Damage Report line is available to receive calls between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Damage Report Line program allows residents, tenants, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to receive information and register their flood-related damage.

Damage assessments will be reviewed, and health and safety inspection teams may be deployed if required.

Residents are reminded to:

  • Contact their insurance companies immediately to report damage.
  • Take photos of damage to their homes or properties.
  • Keep receipts of any repairs and replacement purchases.
  • Record the number of hours of work undertaken for residents who are cleaning their own properties, or family members or those who have assisted in the cleanup of their property.

Trans-Canada Highway closure

The Trans-Canada Highway from exit 306 (Oromocto) to Exit 423 (River Glade) is now fully closed and will remain so until it is safe to re-open.

Depending on river level forecasts, this could be a multiple-day closure. Water will have to recede and the road will require an inspection before it can be re-opened.

Eastbound traffic headed towards Moncton is being detoured to Route 7 at Exit 306, then to Route 1, then back to Route 2 west of Moncton.

Westbound traffic headed towards Fredericton is being detoured at Exit 423 to Route 1, then to Route 7, then back to Route 2 east of Fredericton.

Respect barricades

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is reporting 84 road closures. A list of the latest closures is available online.

Drivers are reminded that it is an offence to move or drive around barricades, and offenders will be charged.

Drivers are also asked to obey changes to speed limits, follow closure notices and avoid any roads covered by water. Water may be deeper than it appears and may conceal sinkholes or other damage and debris.

The My511 mobile application allows users to receive road condition and incident notifications about highway segments they select.

Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross has established reception centres at Centre Sainte-Anne, 715 Priestman St. in Fredericton and at the Carleton Community Centre, 120 Market Place in Saint John.

To date, 380 households have registered with the Red Cross.

Residents who are affected by flooding and do not have access to alternative accommodations (with neighbours, friends or family) can contact the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

NB Power update

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

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

Currently, 136 NB Power customers have their services disconnected due to flooding.

Sandbags available

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

Carbon monoxide and fire safety

During a flood, the risk of fire or carbon monoxide exposure is greatly increased. Residents should heed the following guidelines to stay safe:

  • Never use generators, pumps or any other fuel-powered equipment indoors.
  • Powered equipment should always be placed at least four metres away from any structure.
  • In the event of a power outage or in homes without electricity, never use carbon-based fuels (such as kerosene, gas or fuel oil) indoors to heat or cook. These appliances generate carbon monoxide.
  • Temporary heating appliances such as propane or kerosene heaters should never be used indoors as they present a fire hazard.
  • If exposed to floodwaters, carbon-based fuel equipment should be inspected by professionals before use.
  • Residents should ensure their home is equipped with functioning battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Use heating and drying equipment carefully. Keep combustible material away from devices that generate heat.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur quickly. Anyone who believes they have been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning should go outside immediately and then go to the nearest hospital or call 911.

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.

Water contamination

Residents should avoid contact with floodwater if possible, as the water may contain sewage from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste, which poses health risks such as sickness and infections.

Floodwaters may cause community sewerage systems to become overwhelmed and this can lead to sewage backing up into homes or businesses.

Always wash hands with soap and clean water after cleanup activities or after handling articles contaminated by sewage, even if wearing gloves. If soap and water are not available for hand washing, use a hand sanitizer.

People should seek medical attention if they are exposed to sewage water and develop diarrhea, vomiting or fever.

Well safety

People with wells that are currently under floodwaters should not use their well water. If well water has a persistent odour or discolouration, or if residents believe it has been affected by chemicals such as furnace oil, gasoline or agricultural chemicals, it should not be used for any purpose, even if it has been boiled. More information about well water safety is available online.

Residents concerned about the safety of their well water should contact the nearest regional office of the Department of Environment and Local Government for further information.

Canadian Armed Forces support

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are conducting tasks in support of preparedness and response operations.

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.

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

People are reminded to:

  • 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.

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.

A livestream of today’s media event will be available online.