Parts of Fredericton's downtown should be prepared to go without power for several days if the flood waters of the St. John River continue to rise, says an NB Power official.
The utility company will be contacting businesses in the downtown area that are likely to be affected by power outages if the river reaches its projected levels of 8.2 metres, said Arnold Irving, manager of regional operations for NB Power.
Businesses and residences in the Queen Street area will be impacted, Irving said. So will some streets along the river on the city's north side.
"It's a very real reality that parts of the city will be out," Irving said.
City projections show that flooding is expected to seep into the city from the Princess Margaret Bridge to the small craft aquatic centre past Smythe Street if the river reaches eight metres. The water is also anticipated to surge into sections of the north side of the river. The depth of the water will vary.
Approximately 920 properties in the Fredericton area could be impacted if the river reaches the eight-metre mark.
Even homes and businesses that are not flooded may still lose their power if they are being fed by one of NB Power's underground facilities, Irving said.
Residents should be prepared for the power to be out for an extended period of time, he said.
"We're at the mercy of the river is really what it boils down to. It just depends on how high the river goes and how quickly it goes back down."
Homeowners warned of electrical dangers
People living in the areas that will be impacted by the rising waters should call NB Power to have their electricity disconnected if their homes are flooding, he said. But they should not attempt to switch power off themselves if water is already in their homes.
"If you're standing in water, you shouldn't be going near anything at all that's electrical. You should avoid it. It's your life," Irving said. "We don't want anybody getting electrocuted."
Twenty-five linesmen are working in the Fredericton area, Irving said, and more will be brought in from across the province as the waters rise.