Power outages and flooded streets as storm batters New Brunswick

More than 5,000 customers are without power in New Brunswick as heavy rain continues to batter the province and is expected to continue into Thursday morning.

More than 5,000 customers without power

Some streets in Saint John underwater. (Matthew BingleyCBC)

Latest

  • Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning for New Brunswick
  • Forecasts suggest as much as 180 mm of rain could fall by Thursday
  • RCMP is warning drivers to slow down because of heavy rain and potential for hydroplaning
  • Emergency Measures Organization is warning people in flood-prone areas to take precautions

More than 5,000 customers are without power in New Brunswick as heavy rain continues to batter the province and is expected to continue into Thursday morning.

About 3,000 of those customers are in the Fredericton area. More than 900 customers in Sussex and 640 in Woodstock were also without electricity. 

According to the Emergency Measures Organization, parts of the province could get up to 180 mm — that's seven inches — of rain. Central and southern regions are forecast to receive the highest amounts.

In Fredericton, water-covered streets backed up traffic.

Earlier in the day, the city of Fredericton warned residents to watch out for flooded streets due to clogged catch basins from leaf debris.

In Saint John, trees are down in some neighbourhoods and streets are flooded. Flooding is affecting public transit on some routes, including 1 and 2 not travelling on Retail Drive.

The CBC's Matthew Bingley is warning Saint John motorists of a dangerous spot on the Reversing Falls Bridge. Tarps from construction there are blowing in the wind and obstructing sight.

"Due to the downed trees, police have closed a section of Manawaganish until the city can remove them," he says. 

St. Stephen Mayor John Quartermain asked people to stay at home and not drive around looking at flooded areas. 

"We have some major flooding going on, there's basements flooding. The works department, the fire department are around pumping basements and clearing drains," he said. 

Milltown and St. Stephen are also hit by the flooding. 

Quartermain says there are a number of roads that are impassable or experiencing flooding, including Highway 3, and route 170,  where a culvert has flooded. 

"There's a lot of people out just driving around, you know, just curious and we ask you to stay off the roads here," the mayor added. 

Trees are down and blocking streets in parts of Saint John (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

A heavy rainfall warning has been issued for all of New Brunswick for Wednesday and Wednesday night by Environment Canada. 

The agency says "heavy, prolonged rainfall" could create a flood risk in many parts of the province.

"Total rainfall amounts of 55 to 90 millimetres are forecast over northern regions of New Brunswick, while central and southern regions of the province can expect between 120 to 180 millimetres by Thursday morning," it said.

Heaviest rain expected overnight

Environment Canada is warning that a slow moving cold front will bring heavy rain to the province, with the heaviest rain expected in the overnight hours.

The downpour is prompting emergency organizations to warn people to be careful when driving and to guard themselves against flood risks.

Sackville officials advised residents to prepare for heavy rain, with up to 120 mm expected to fall in the region at a time of high tide.

Emergency crews are on standby and the town said it is prepared for the potential for local emergencies and road closures.

The weather agency says the rain is expected to ease on Thursday morning as the system slides southeastward.

CBC meteorologist Peter Coade says although the heavy rain will move out on Thursday, the wet weather will likely continue into the weekend.

"Rainfall amounts will be great in many areas, with some storm totals approaching 200 mm by the time any clearing takes place over the weekend," Coade said.

"I don't really see any distinct clearing ­— just a let up in the rain from time to time — but staying unsettled with periods of rain into the beginning of next week."

Overnight forecast

Overnight rain will be heavy at times, bringing 40 mm to the northwest and 70 mm to the northeast with a low of 8 C.

For the Fredericton area, overnight heavy rain is expected to bring another 70 to 90 mm with a low of 10 C.

In southern New Brunswick, heavy rain will continue overnight with 80 to 110 expected and a low of 10 C.

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