More New Brunswick communities have reached flood stage, according to the province’s river watch program.
The province’s capital city has a flood stage of 6.5 metres. As of Sunday at 7 a.m., the water level in Fredericton stood at 7.94 metres.
At its highest point, during last year’s historic flooding, the St. John River reached 8.31 metres in Fredericton.
The flooding has resulted in the city activating its Emergency Operations Centre. According to a tweet from Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien, the group met in an all-hands meeting on Sunday.
According to the province’s river watch program, Fredericton has been joined by the communities of Maugerville, Jemseg, Hartland and Sheffield-Lakeville Corner in reaching flood stage.
The latest projections indicate that Quispamsis-Saint John and Quispamsis will likely reach flood stage by Monday morning.
The rising floodwaters have forced the closure of at least 25 roads in western New Brunswick, where the premier is urging residents to do what they can to protect their families and
“We won’t hesitate to declare a state of emergency if public safety demands it,” Blaine Higgs told a news conference Sunday in Fredericton, the community that appears to be dealing with the most challenges as the Saint John River keeps rising.
“I must stress that this is a very hazardous and difficult situation and we are certainly not out of the woods,” Higgs said.
Provincial officials confirmed there had yet to be any mandatory evacuations, but some residents have voluntarily left their homes.
The extent of damage remains unclear, but officials confirmed Sunday there were some flooded basements in Fredericton, where up to 200 homes had been affected by the rising river.
The province’s Public Safety Department said residents in other communities along the river should remain on high alert in the coming days.
“For residents who haven’t yet been impacted, I would urge you not to be complacent,” Higgs said. “Be informed about the risks and take preventative measures and consider voluntary evacuation.”
The premier said the province will be seeking disaster assistance from the federal government.
“Rest assured, New Brunswickers won’t be left to shoulder the burden of flood damage alone,” he said.
Jasmin Boisvert, a water resources specialist with the provincial Environment Department, said water levels rose faster than expected in the Fredericton area after ice jams in the northern reaches of the river broke free, unleashing a surge of water.
He said flooding is expected in an area between Fredericton and Saint John for the next five days.
120 Canadian soldiers have been deployed to assist New Brunswickers due to the rising waters. The province says the army has “conducted reconnaissance and planning activities” as they continue to determine where their assistance will be most effective.
The province says citizens who are affected by flooding and do not have access to alternative accommodations can contact the Canadian Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582.
If New Brunswickers are in need of sand and sandbags, the province has depot locations listed on its website.