Ice jams along the St. John River cause flooding in Hartland, Perth-Andover
State of emergency lifted in Perth-Andover
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 | 11:29 AM AT
The ice jams on the St. John River are forcing hundreds of residents in western New Brunswick from their homes, while others are pumping water from their basements.
An ice jam in Perth-Andover has caused flooding in the area, affecting 109 homes and businesses and about 240 people.
Dan Dionne, the village's chief operating officer, said the ice has now moved downriver, but two sections of Route 105 remain closed.
The village had declared a state of emergency on Monday night after the water started spilling into the community. However, the order has been lifted and residents are allowed to return to their homes.
Bob Davenport, a homeowner who was forced to leave his home on Monday night, heard the local fire department's siren warning residents to flee around 10 p.m.
"Well, it's one of those situations where Mother Nature ruled the day," Davenport said.
He said he had a sleepless night at his mother-in-law's house about 35 kilometres away as he worried about his home.
'The only problem is when [the ice jam breaks] ... somebody downriver is going to be in the same predicament. And that's sad. Now that I've lived through it, I wouldn't wish this on anyone.'— Jayne Barron, Hartland resident
"It's a feeling right in the pit of your stomach. You don't know if this is going to be it, that you're not going to be able to come back again, whether this is going to be the big one that ruins everything," he said.
"It's kind of unnerving ... you don't sleep, I know that."
The family had made contingency plans for a possible evacuation before the flood occurred, so had enough medication and other essentials for three days.
Karl Wilmot, a spokesman with the Emergency Measures Organization's River Watch program, said the ice jam has moved downriver from Perth-Andover, but provincial officials are monitoring the possible flooding in other areas of the province.
"The jam is in place between the Cozy Cabins at Woodstock upstream to a location at Newburg Junction. And along that side of the river on Route 105 is closed," Wilmot said.
"The secondary problem we have at that point is that the Meduxnekeag River has not run its ice and we're waiting for that to happen."
There are also reports of high waters affecting homes and sections of Route 107 in the Nashwaak Bridge area, north of Fredericton.
Ice jam caused flooding in Hartland
Meanwhile, a three-kilometre-long ice jam has built up below the world's longest covered bridge in Hartland.
The rising water spilled over the road, forcing the closure Monday of part of Route 105. Water also backed up into the basements of a number of homes along Hartland's Main Street.
Charlie Webber was helping his sister and her family cope with the mess on Monday, and said they're preparing for the worst-case scenario.
"I know they're nervous. They've got everything either moved out of the house or up to the top floor. Anything of any value," he said.
Jayne Barron is another Hartland resident facing the devastating impact of the rising river. On Monday, she had two sump pumps churning away at her house on Main Street, but there was still half a metre of water in her basement.
The basement water is down from Sunday night, when it was up to her hips. But even with the water's retreat, her son's bedroom furniture, Christmas ornaments and the family's freezer are floating in the brown water.
"Because [the water] is so deep, it's flowing in the windows in the basement," Barron said.
"It's flowing in between the wallboard and the concrete, and it's filling the basement."
Daycare asked not to open
Barron said she's praying the ice on the river breaks up soon.
"The only problem is when that happens, somebody downriver is going to be in the same predicament. And that's sad. Now that I've lived through it, I wouldn't wish this on anyone."
One woman was asked to leave her home when it looked like the water in her basement was going to reach her electrical panel.
A daycare with 20 children was also asked not to open as a precaution.
Meanwhile, officials say three of four families evacuated from their homes near Florenceville on Sunday have been allowed to return.
The fourth family's home suffered severe water damage. Officials say it's likely the home will be condemned.
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