New Brunswick

N.B. water levels to remain above flood stage for several days

Water levels are expected to rise in some areas and then start dropping over the next few days along the St. John River, but it still could be days before they fall below flood stage.

Waters expected to rise in some areas, recede slowly in others after rainfall earlier this weekend

Residents in Grand Lake say heavy winds are creating more powerful waves than during the 2018 flood. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Water levels are expected to start dropping over the next few days along the St. John River in New Brunswick, but it still could be days before they fall below flood stage.

According to the most recent five-day forecast from River Watch, the communities of Fredericton, Maugerville and Sheffield will see slight increases in water levels today and tomorrow, as rain from earlier in the weekend makes its way through the river system.

Fredericton and Maugerville are expected to be the only communities in the lower St. John River basin to drop below flood stage by Friday.

"As we go down the river it's very much a case of the levels staying the same or slight fluctuations up and down and that will persist for several more days," said Greg MacCallum, the provincial EMO director. 

"It's a slow thing to get this much water out of the basin."

MacCallum said people who left their homes should ensure with officials that it's safe to return before going back.

"Safety first always, before you go back into your properties."

The provincial government is also advising people to use caution when pumping out basements. The water levels inside should not be more than a foot lower than the outside water level or it could cause structural damage.

Registration numbers levelling off, Red Cross says

The Saint John reception centre is moving from the Carleton Community Centre at 120 Market Place to Loch Lomond Place at 120 MacDonald St. tomorrow morning.

Bill Lawlor, provincial director of the Red Cross, said the change in location is a way to consolidate, since the Red Cross office and warehouse are already in Loch Lomond Place.

"There hasn't been a lot of foot traffic come into that particular reception centre [at the Carleton Community Centre]."

An empty unit was given to the Red Cross to use by the landlord at no cost while the need for the reception centre exists.

Flood cleanup kits will begin to be distributed starting tomorrow and will also be available at Red Cross reception centres. (Radio-Canada)

The number of evacuees registered with the Red Cross has started to level off. As of this morning there are 437 households and 1,095 individuals, provincial director Bill Lawlor said.

"There's very little change from yesterday."

He said this is reflective of stabilizing and receding water levels, but said the Red Cross is prepared for an uptake as residents who had decided to stay in their homes run low on resources, since water levels aren't expected to drop below flood stage for some time.

What the 2019 New Brunswick flood looked like on Friday:

This is how the 2019 New Brunswick flood looks on Friday in Grand Lake and along the St. John and Kennebecaisis Rivers. 1:01

"There often becomes that tipping point of, whether it's a combination of exhaustion or lack of resources … people tend to require some support as the days and weeks continue," Lawlor said.

Even with river levels dropping, there are still many houses surrounded by water or cut off due to water over roads.

Clean up kits available Monday

Over 260 households have received some sort of emergency assistance from the Red Cross, Lawlor said, whether that is in the form of emergency accommodations, supplying food and medicines, or both.

Lawlor also said free flood cleanup kits will begin to be available tomorrow at Red Cross reception centres. The kits can also be picked up at the Maugerville Community Centre. 

Provincial Red Cross director Bill Lawlor said the step to gaining any assistance from the Red Cross or other programs is to register. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

He said the Red Cross is expecting the level of damage and financial impact to be just as bad or worse than last year's flood.

"These are [homeowners] who have spent the last year going through the repair and rebuild process and have either just finished or not yet finished, only to be faced with flooding again."

With files form Shane Fowler

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.