Emergency officials in New Brunswick warn of potential flooding, revise forecast 

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick preparing for flood season'
New Brunswick preparing for flood season
WATCH: Flood season has arrived and as the world is being told to stay home for those living along the Saint John River evacuation may be imminent. Megan Yamoah has more. – Apr 13, 2020

Emergency officials in New Brunswick are advising residents to be vigilant this week, saying some waterways could reach or slightly exceed the flood stage.

Environment Canada is forecasting 20 to 40 millimetres of rain, and possibly higher near the Fundy coast, with high wind gusts and very mild temperatures starting today and into Tuesday.

Geoffrey Downey, a spokesman for New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization, says despite the weather forecast, flood projections have been slightly revised this week for two of three communities that had been issued a warning on Sunday.

READ MORE: Emergency officials in New Brunswick warn of potential flooding this week

Downey says Fredericton is no longer expected to reach the flood stage this week, while flood water levels are not expected to be as high as previously forecast for the communities of St-Hilaire, near Edmundston in the province’s north and Gagetown, outside of Fredericton.

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He says Gagetown, with a flood level of 4 metres, is expected to hit 4.1 metres on Thursday and 4.2 metres on Friday, while waters near St-Hilaire are expected to reach 20 centimetres over flood stage on Wednesday and 10 centimetres over on Thursday, before receding below flood stage over following days.

Floodwaters reached historic levels along the St. John River system the past two years prompting residents to flee their homes and causing extensive damage and road closures.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Blaine Higgs raises flooding concerns amid COVID-19 worries

Downey says better weather has helped so far this year, but he cautions there is still heavy snow in wooded areas and the situation could change rapidly, noting that it didn’t turn for the worse last year until around April 23.

“There’s enough snow left that communities could end up looking at flooding, but by the same token, if we get weather that works out well it may not be bad,” Downey said in an interview Monday.

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READ MORE: New Brunswickers warned that snow and rain in forecast could result in flooding

He said after the current weather system passes through the province, a stretch of more favourable weather is expected, meaning temperatures just above freezing during the day and just below overnight.

“That leads to a slow melt,” he said.

This story by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2020.

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