Flood levels in New Brunswick back at last year’s damaging levels in capital

THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019 10:59AM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 23, 2019 4:27PM ADT

FREDERICTON — The flood levels in Fredericton are back at last year’s levels, as the waters of the Saint John River are also causing flooding in the southern parts of the province.

Provincial emergency officials are cautioning the water levels of the flood-prone river will continue to rise in southern regions of the province in the days ahead.

They say levels in Fredericton and northern regions were continuing to stabilize Tuesday, and they were expected to remain above flood level for the rest of the week.

However, Geoffrey Downey, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, says levels have reached over 8.3 metres in parts Fredericton — which is above the level of last year’s floods.

The record-breaking 1973 flood saw water levels reach 8.6 metres.

Residents were advised to remain on high alert in areas in and around Clair-Fort Kent, Saint-Hilaire, Edmundston, Fredericton, Maugerville, Jemseg, Grand Lake, Sheffield-Lakeville Corner, Oak Point and Quispamsis-Saint John.

Greg MacCallum, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, urged people living in areas that are typically cut off due to flooding to “act now to relocate.”

Late Monday, residents in parts of Saint John had been given voluntary evacuation notice.

The Saint John Emergency Measures Organization said water levels could reach 5.3 metres by Friday, and flooding and road closures could isolate some homes for five days or more.

“Residents who choose to stay should be aware of the risks,” said MacCallum.

He advised vigilance and told people to avoid any activities on the water because of strong currents carrying “a significant amount of debris.”

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure reported 59 road closures across the province on Tuesday.

About 200 soldiers from Canadian Forces Base Gagetown have been deployed to provide assistance to residents who need it, while sandbag stations have been set up across the province.

The flooding has prompted the newly acclaimed leader of the New Brunswick Liberals, former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers, to cancel plans for his first official news conference on Wednesday.