New Brunswick

Wicked weekend weather brings risk of flood, flash freezing, power outages

New Brunswickers are being warned about slick driving conditions, flooding, and power outages as heavy rain is expected to move across most of the province.

Fundy Coast could see more than 100 mm of rain, other parts of south up to 80 mm

Environment Canada said a low pressure system will slowly track across the region on Saturday bringing messy weather to all parts of New Brunswick. (CBC)

A weekend of cold, wet, hazardous weather has begun.

Environment Canada has issued weather warnings for every part of the province. The warnings vary between flash freezes, heavy rain, freezing rain and snow. Some northern areas are expected to experience a mix of all four, making for a messy 48 hours.

New Brunswickers are being warned about slick driving conditions, flooding and power outages as heavy rain moves  across most of the province.

"With the amount of snow currently on the ground and temperatures reaching the positive double digits, substantial snow-melt and runoff is expected with the rainfall, which could lead to flooding and potential ice jams on rivers," the weather agency said in a statement.

"Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads."

The southern coastal regions should receive plenty of rain with the chance of a flash freeze, the federal agency said. Most of the province will see a mix of rain, freezing rain and sudden cold temperatures. 

The agency said temperatures are expected to fall rapidly. Meanwhile, pooling water, slush and falling precipitation are expected to freeze as the temperature drops.

"Temperatures will drop dramatically early Saturday morning going from near 10 C in rain to below freezing in a matter of a few hours along with a transition of rain to freezing rain," Environment Canada said in a statement.

"This quick transition will freeze water quickly on untreated surfaces."

Power outages

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization held a news conference Friday to caution New Brunswickers about the likelihood of slippery surfaces for both vehicles and pedestrians, and about power outages.

"Heavy rainfall brings the risk of power outages," said communications director Robert Duguay.

"EMO will be in full monitoring mode throughout the weekend and we will be ready to intervene in case of any emergency."

Robert Duguay, communications director for New Brunswick EMO, is warning about flooding, slippery conditions and the chance of power outages over the weekend. (CBC News)

A wicked winter storm pummelled the East Coast a week ago, leaving many NB Power customers without electricity. At the peak, more than 19,000 customers were in the dark. 

Duguay said residents should be prepared with a 72-hour emergency kit and a battery-powered radio.

NB Power announced its regular complement of crews would be ready to respond. Some contractor crews were also contacted, if required, said spokeswoman Marie-Andrée Bolduc. 

Flood risk

An immense amount of rain and melting snow, combined with the land's inability to absorb the water, will create the potential for flooding in parts of the province.

Duguay said people should take appropriate actions to protect themselves, such as clearing drains and securing any items that could move. He said residents who've experienced flooding in the past should take all necessary precautions.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said crews have been removing debris and snow as well clearing drains and culverts to reduce the chance water will pool on roads. 

Provincial crews work to clear out culverts near Geary on Friday night to help keep water from pooling on the road. (CBC NEWS)

"Crews around the province took advantage of mild weather over the past few days to prepare as much as possible for this weekend's weather event, including pushing back and making holes in snowbanks to allow for as much drainage as possible and de-icing culverts," said spokeswoman Tanya Greer said an email Friday night.

"We anticipate, with the heavy rainfall expected, that localized flooding may occur and we've had extra road signs produced in case we need to close roads. Our crews are mobilized and ready to respond to flooded roads.

"We urge motorists to reduce speed and check 511 for up to date road conditions."

Lots of rain

The entire province is under a freezing rainfall and rainfall warning, where ice buildup is also expected.

The Fundy Coast can expect rainfall amounts of more than 100 millimetres. Meanwhile, the rest of the southern part of the province will see between 50 mm and 80 mm. In the north, rainfall of about 25 mm was forecast. 

A changeover to freezing rain is expected Friday night and into Saturday resulting in a prolonged period of freezing rain.  In the northwest, up to 20 centimetres of snow was expected starting Friday night.

Environment Canada has issued a flash freeze warning, a freezing rain warning and a rainfall warning, in effect for parts of the province. (Radio-Canada)

With files from Radio-Canada and Colin McPhail