Some areas along the St. John River in New Brunswick could reach or exceed flood stage over the next few days.
The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) and its River Watch 2019 campaign has released its five-day forecast and predicts parts of the province will be at or above flood stage during that time.
The organization says water levels in rivers are increasing from snow melt and will continue to increase over the next five days.
Specifically, the St. John River is expected to reach 8.1 metres in Fredericton by Monday. The 2018 flood peak was 8.3 metres.
The Fredericton Fire Department spent Wednesday visiting homes along the river to hand out brochures to residents — to warn about the rising waters.
Last year, the fire department responded to 100 flood distress calls in 12 days. This year, they are setting a command post in preparation.
“Now is the time to make preparations for the eventuality that you may have to leave and make arrangements for things such as child care your pets, and being prepared to remove valuables out of your basement,” said Assistant Deputy Chief Steve Fraser.
Fredericton resident Isaac Harrison is heeding the warning.
“We’re going to clear the basement out, pile some sandbags down there and anything we can to keep the water out,” he said.
The areas that are expected to be at or above flood stage are: Saint Francois, Clair, Baker-Brook, Saint-Hilaire, Edmundston, Iroquois, Saint-Basile, Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska, Saint-Léonard, Kennebecasis, Fredericton, Maugerville, Jemseg, Grand Lake, Seffield/Lakeville Corner, and Quispamsis/Saint John.
WATCH: New Brunswick EMO issues warning as water levels rise (April 2, 2019)
EMO is also warning people who live or work in areas prone to localized flooding to take proper precautions to safeguard their homes and possessions.
Specifically, people should consider moving belongings to higher ground, avoid the banks and waterways, avoid boating and other water activities, and keep up to date with River Watch updates.
“As far as the forecast goes, it is trending towards the kind of flooding we were looking at last year,” said Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson with the Department of Public Safety.
“It’s far too early to say whether we will experience record flooding or not, but we certainly will experience some flooding and so people need to be prepared and be informed.”
— With files from Megan Yamoah