New Brunswick emergency officials remind people to stay vigilant about flooding
Officials from New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization are reminding residents to be vigilant about water levels this week.
EMO communications director Robert Duguay said that while water levels are high in Fredericton, they still remain well below the flood stage.
“At this point, we are seeing the water levels in Fredericton area should stay steady for the next 48 hours, after that, they should start to decrease in the following days,” Duguay said.
He said that’s the case in most communities and regions along the St. John River Basin, where water levels will increase to “near the flood stage” before decreasing in the days following.
“The exception is for Jemseg, where the water levels should exceed a little bit the flood stage, not too much, but just to say it will be above flood stage and will stay like that probably for the week and then eventually, it will start to decrease,” Duguay said.
Duguay said there is approximately 10 mm of rain in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, followed by more snow or rain later in the week.
“So in [the] Fredericton area [about] a week from now, we should be one metre below the flood stage, which should give us a buffer to cope with the rain to come,” Duguay said.
He said the EMO will continue to watch the situation “very carefully,” to make sure residents can be informed if they’re at risk.
Duguay says they’re advising people to stay vigilant, to stay informed, to watch any warnings we can issue to make sure that if anything happens, they can take action accordingly.
An ice jam in the Bathurst area caused flooding Saturday, but Duguay said that’s now under control.
“In the Bathurst area, it was just a few houses that were isolated because of some water covering the Mathilda Road, and now from what I understand this morning, the situation has improved already,” Duguay said.
He said the houses weren’t threatened by the water, but the road leading to the homes was covered in 20 to 30 cm of water.
“Now there is no more ice threat [in the] upper St. John river basin, so all that is now out of the way unless [the] situation changes, but at this point, there’s no ice jam threat,” Duguay said.
Other communities prepare for flooding risk over the weekend
On Thursday, the EMO issued an alert for residents in the Village of Perth-Andover warning residents of a flooding risk due to an ice jam.
Village chief administrative officer Dan Dionne said the community worries about flooding every year.
“Every spring, the community is faced with the run-off of ice water during the spring freshet. This year, of course, is no different,” Dionne said.
“We ended up with our ice breaking up a few days ago, and after our ice breaks up, it slides up towards the Beachwood dam and we end up after that with ice coming from the Aroostook River and the St. John River through the Grand Falls dam. And also, we received water from the Tobique River, so when we get those three rivers feeding into a narrow section of the river between Perth and the Beechwood dam, where it’s narrow spots and some bends in the river, we always have the potential for ice jamming, and we always end up with a few spots where the ice catches up, and a little bit of water will rise behind it, and this year was no different,” Dionne said.
He said the community is always on edge this time of year, but said he’s optimistic the village will get through this year “unscathed.”
“It’s still a stressful time for the community, once they see the water and ice getting up near the road levels. Of course, it brings back memories of 2012 and the devastation that that brought,” Dionne said.
Dionne said the community doesn’t usually flood from high water levels or rain, due to the elevation the community has “been forced to build up to.”
“For example, our community never had basement flooding until the Beechwood dam was built, so really, high water has not really been an issue for the community, especially since the head pond was built, the issues we’ve had with ice jams,” Dionne said.
He said business owners have been stressed and concerned about needing to move inventory if ice jams occur.
“Unfortunately, that’s part of the reality that we faced over the past few years with climate change and not being able to manage the ice flow, the restrictions that we have in the existing system, so it’s an unfortunate way of life here for us now but I guess until we do some type of business mitigation, we’re going to be stuck facing this every spring,” Dionne said.
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