N.B. flooding hits record levels — with more rain in the forecast

The Emergency Measures Organization says Saint John has hit water levels not seen since 1973

Floodwaters have surged past record levels in parts of New Brunswick, sending the flood-weary province into uncharted territory as forecasts indicate even more rain could be coming.

The Emergency Measures Organization says Saint John has hit water levels not seen since 1973 and will likely exceed that on Saturday, while Jemseg has surpassed historic records.

Spokesman Geoffrey Downey says the rising waters are closing roads and causing more people to evacuate in areas stretching from Fredericton south to Saint John, where the situation is expected to worsen in the coming days.

He says roughly 100 homes have been evacuated, affecting about 260 people, but that those numbers are expected to climb as the flooding continues.

The Transportation Department says 136 assets — including roads, bridges and ferries — have been affected by the expansive flood that has resulted in 80 complete road closures and five partial closures.

The provincial government launched the Disaster Financial Assistance program Wednesday to help businesses, municipalities and individuals who have suffered damage during the current flood.

Premier Brian Gallant said damage has already been reported and is likely to get worse in the days ahead.

Related: N.B. officials urge people to evacuate their neighbourhoods as floodwaters rise

The maximum assistance for private homes is $160,000, and $500,000 for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Coverage is provided to repair and clean structures and to replace basic necessities, but is not available for recreational properties.

Water levels along the Saint John River in southern New Brunswick continued to rise and emergency measures officials are urging residents in flood-prone areas to evacuate their homes.

Oromocto fire Chief Jody Price said boats are being used to rescue people from homes across the river in Maugerville, and the longer people wait to leave, the harder it is to get to them.

“The higher the water gets — and it has been a continual rise — it is more difficult for us. We went from Friday, when we could get people out of there with vehicles, to today, where we can’t go over there without a boat,” Price said.

And unless it’s an emergency, Price said people need to be moved during the daylight hours.

“We don’t send our boats and our crews in after dark for the safety of our crews. We need to move people out of there in the day time. We are urging people if you want to come out, or are thinking about coming out, then we need you to come out now,” he said.

Price said the levels of the floodwaters are the highest he has ever seen.

Further down river, people in Grand Bay-Westfield were filling sandbags and trying to protect homes Wednesday afternoon, with officials expecting a significant rise in water levels over the next few days.

Cooke Aquaculture is sending a truck loaded with 10,000 sandbags to Grand Bay-Westfield to support flood relief efforts. The company in Blacks Harbour also has boats and equipment on standby to assist, if needed.

In Saint John, the huge volumes of water in the river can only release into the Bay of Fundy at low tide, but even high tides have met their match this week against the strong currents at the city’s Reversing Falls.

Saint John resident Graeme Scott, whose home overlooks the convergence of the Saint John and Kennebecasis rivers, said he’s safe because he lives on a hill, but he’s not so sure about many of his neighbours. He said their houses are tucked into the hillside with one storey on the street and two storeys facing the water side.

“Some of their foundations are probably getting within a foot or so (of the water) and there are some people on the point that have done a bunch of sandbagging yesterday around the front of the houses,” said Scott.

“It’s right at the max of what we’ve seen before.”

Related: No way of forecasting Okanagan floods: engineer

Related: PHOTOS: Flood damage extensive in B.C. Interior

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna golf course ready and open for spring business

Two Eagles Golf Course opened Saturday, more to come

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA hopes annual climb will promote peace

MLA Norm Letnick’s 5th Annual Spring Climb for Health & World Peace is April 6

Possible assault to bus driver in Kelowna

A minor bus crash was reported just after 8 p.m. Friday night

Car crash nearly sends car over embankment in West Kelowna

RCMP search for driver of alleged stolen vehicle that caused crash

Update: Highway 3 reopened following rockslide near Keremeos

The slide occurred Friday March 22, at about 8 p.m. between Red Bridge and Standing Rock

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Okanagan woman launches sewing studio

“I know there’s a lot of people up and down the valley that would love to sew.”

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

Letter: Stop raising the minimum wage

To the editor: The government is looking for ways to put more… Continue reading

Letter: Immigration will not help other countries, or our own

To the editor: Firearms are not the culprit in all those massive… Continue reading

Letter: Sprawl destroying natural landscape

To the editor: I agree with the assessment by Ian Pooley in… Continue reading

Former Okanagan teen found safe after disappearing from YVR airport

Ethan Burnett, 14, was found safe in Kelowna on March 22

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Most Read