Parts of St. John River head toward flood stage

The St. John River is expected to rise above flood stage in many communities over the next few days as unseasonably warm temperatures continue, snow melts and rain hits the forecast.

Unseasonably warm temperatures, rain and melting snow to blame

Water levels are forecast to hit the warning stage in Fredericton and Durham Bridge, north of the city, over the next 48 hours and watch stage in Maugerville and Jemseg. (Submitted by @DailyImagery/Twitter)

The St. John River is expected to reach flood stage in many communities along the length of the river this week, according to the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.

Areas included in an advisory issued early Wednesday afternoon are: Saint-François, Clair, Saint-Hilaire, Fredericton, Nashwaak River, Maugerville, Jemseg, Grand Lake, Sheffield, Lakeville Corner, Oak Point, Quispamsis and Saint John.

The river is expected to rise to 7.1 metres in Fredericton in the next 48 hours. Flood stage is 6.5 metres.

"The river's rising, there's no question about that," Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Public Safety told Information Morning Fredericton on Wednesday. "Everyone can see it."

"Driving by the St. John River, [you] can see it's going up."

There are three reasons for the rise forecast for coming days.

A lot of snow remains in central and northern regions of the province.

Director of EMO Greg MacCallum warns residents some regions are at risk of reaching flood stage due to above-normal temperatures 0:52

The melting snow, unseasonably warm temperatures this week and as much as 40 mm of rain expected in some areas of the province have sparked calls for vigilance from EMO.

Water levels are forecast to hit the warning stage in Fredericton and Durham Bridge over the next 48 hours and the watch stage in Maugerville and Jemseg.

Low risk of ice jams

Downey said one positive is that river ice remaining in the Upper St. John River Valley is not expected to move in coming days, minimizing the risk of ice jams.

Alert Ready, the national emergency system that already sends alerts to television and radio, will soon be sending them to mobile phones too. 1:46
He also said nighttime temperatures have been co-operative, although that could change.

"It's getting cool at night, so it is slowing down the melt as we go along," said Downey.

"When it starts staying above freezing, and if we're getting close to record temperatures during the day, then we would be getting a lot of [melted snow] coming down."

Residents urged to stay informed

According to Environment Canada, both day and night temperatures will be above normal until at least Monday.

Downey said residents living in flood-prone areas should stay informed, including by checking the New Brunswick EMO website.

"Things do change and sometimes they can change quickly,"

"There's a number of ways for them to stay informed and we hope they stay informed."

With files from Information Morning Fredericton