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Rising waters along St. John River force road closures, evacuations

Flooding on Cameron Road in Rothesay, N.B.
WATCH ABOVE: A drone's view of flooding in the Cameron Road area of Rothesay, N.B.

Outside his family’s restaurant at the Saint John Marina on Thursday, David Hickey estimated that more than three feet of water was being held back by a hastily constructed, makeshift barricade.

The marina sign was almost completely submerged after what Hickey said was a significant change in levels overnight.

“I was standing in the restaurant, and three feet ahead of you outside the door there’s three and a half feet of water waiting to pour in,” Hickey said.

The eatery is “in the heart” of the floods encroaching on the southern New Brunswick city, Hickey said, though protective efforts started early enough time to meet the rising waters, after extensive damages last year.

“There’s a lot of others who are in a worse positions than we are, without a doubt,” he said.

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WATCH: As the flood response plays out the City of Saint John is trying to connect those who need help – with those who can help. Silas Brown has more.

Saint John attempting to connect those who need help and those who wish to volunteer during flooding
Saint John attempting to connect those who need help and those who wish to volunteer during flooding

Relief efforts are in full swing as flooding continues to bedevil a swath of southern New Brunswick.

Water levels were predicted to reach 5.6 metres in Saint John Thursday as the provincial government warned residents that the waters are still expected to reach higher levels as the Saint John River continues to swell.

READ MORE: Rising St. John River to close portion of Trans-Canada Highway Wednesday evening

Officials reiterated previous warnings for residents to get out before conditions get worse.

“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,” the government statement read.

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Provincial government offices have been reopened, but staff are advised to take it slow travelling to work as parking lots, roads and bridges remained closed in Fredericton.

The Trans-Canada Highway was fully closed from Oromocto to River Glade and could remain closed for several, as the transportation department reported 84 road closures across the province.

Everyone from community volunteers to federal officials and Canadian Armed Forces are pitching in to help – even federal fisheries officers are aiding evacuation efforts in Fredericton, Quispamsis and St. George.

Hickey said the worsening flooding is worrying residents who have just paid for repairs to damaged property from last year’s floods.

He said damages from 30 inches of flood water at Saint John Marina last year led to expensive repairs to flooring to kitchen equipment — hefty spending that would be difficult to match just one year later.

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WATCH: Drone video captures extent of Fredericton flooding (April 24, 2019)

St. John River’s high waters flood Fredericton’s downtown
St. John River’s high waters flood Fredericton’s downtown

He said he hopes all levels of government takes the impact of severe climate events seriously as residents feel the effects of increasingly regular natural disasters.

“We’ve got huge chunks of our community in Saint John and up the Saint John River being faced with these situations on what is starting to look like an annual basis, and it’s not sustainable,” Hickey said.

Across Saint John, other residents braced for conditions to worsen.

The Saint John English School District announced on Twitter that four schools would be closed Friday “due to flooding and impact on the sewer.”

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization advised residents this morning to report damages caused by flooding starting April 16.

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