River Watch advises to begin flood preparations

River Watch officials are advising of the possibility of ice jams and associated flooding along streams and rivers given the weather forecast for this week.

Rain, warm temperatures this week bring possibility of ice breakup and possible flooding from ice jams

River Watch has issued an advisory warning of ice movement and to watch for possible flooding resulting from ice jams.

With above freezing temperatures and possibly 50 millimetres of rain forecast for the next 48 hours, water levels are expect to peak on Wednesday and Thursday.

“These conditions are conducive to the rapid deterioration of ice covers in all regions,” states the River Watch advisory issued Monday afternoon.

Richard Keeley, an official with the River Watch program, said there is about 30 per cent more water than usual in the northern part of the St. John River basin. (CBC)
“This could lead to the break-up and movement of ice covers and could cause jams as well as associated flooding. Rivers outside of the St. John River system stand to have ice movement as well, so people in all regions should be prepared.”

River Watch is particularly concerned about locations where ice jams formed in January that may hold back water as river levels increase.

Those ice jams are located at:

  • Nashwaak River at MacLaggan bridge, Tay bridge, Durham Bridge and Marysville bridge

  • Kennebecasis River at Hillsdale

  • Southwest Miramichi below the Doaktown bridge and Norrad’s bridge.

River Watch says water levels on the Nashwaak and Kennbecasis Rivers will be at or approaching flood stage on Wednesday.

Richard Keeley, an official with the River Watch program, said there is about 30 per cent more water than usual in the northern part of the St. John River basin, where most of the spring melt comes from, and 89 per cent more in the south.

"The late winter snowstorms have added to the snow pack, so there is more water being retained than normal," said Keeley.

"So add to that the additional rain, the warm temperatures, there is the potential for flooding, definitely."

Environment Canada has issued rainfall warnings for the southern half of New Brunswick.

"As this system approaches the Maritimes on Tuesday, it will push a strong warm front into the region which will bring rain at times heavy along with milder temperatures," states the Environment Canada weather alert.

"Most of central and southern New Brunswick will see 25 to 40 millimetres of rain except along the Fundy coast, where 40 to 50 millimetres are possible."

Keeley said people would be wise to start preparing for flooding now.

"We're now at that critical time of year where you have to stay away from watercourses, stay off of them," he said.

People that do snowmobiling or four-wheeling, or whatever, it's time to say your season is over."

River Watch also advised that people move any personal property near watercourses to higher ground. People who live in flood-prone areas should be moving things out of their basement to prepare for flooding, said Keeley.