New Brunswick flood: Water levels by community — and what to expect

Just how high the water will go, and how long it will stay, depends on hard-to-predict variables, including snow melt and the Bay of Fundy's big tides.

An area-by-area rundown of how high the water is expected to go, and how long it will last

Wayne Chamberlain was busy putting sandbags around his property in west Saint John on Friday afternoon. (CBC)

As the mighty St. John River eases its grip on the streets of Fredericton, life will remain unpredictable for those living near the river south of New Brunswick's capital city.

Water levels are projected to decline in the Fredericton area over the next five days, according to the most recent forecast released by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.

By Tuesday morning, the water is expected to decline to 7.4 metres in Fredericton, still well above the flood stage of 6.5 metres.

But the story is different in places like Saint John, where a reprieve could be days away.

"Saint John has already beat its flood record, Jemseg and Maugerville are certainly on the cusp, and other points like Sheffield and Grand Lake and Oak Point, they could do so as well," New Brunswick Emergency Measures spokesperson Geoffrey Downey.

'It really depends on the tidewaters'

Workers move furniture as the Saint John Marina begins to flood. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)
At the heart of the unpredictability lies the same Bay of Fundy tidal waters that make the province a tourism destination.

The province can't predict the effect the tides will have on river levels or the amount of snow that will be melted by warm temperatures.

That creates a delay between what's happening in Fredericton and areas south, according to Jasmin Boisvert, a water resources specialist with the Department of Environment and Local Government.

Information provided by the provincial River Watch forecast. (Maria Burgos/CBC)
How high will the water go?

And how long will it last?

"It really depends on the tidewaters and the snow melt," Boisvert said.

"It's extremely variable so it's pretty much impossible to answer that with precision."

Shots taken over Grand Bay-Westfield by the CBC News Drone 1:26

With much unknown, emergency measures officials are warning residents to expect the unexpected.

That means residents in at-risk areas — communities like Jemseg, Gagetown, Hampstead, Belleisle, Grand Bay-Westfield, Quispamsis, Oak Point and Saint John — should be prepared to evacuate, even if their home has never flooded.

"The water is being pushed in areas that no one has ever seen before," Downey said.

"You don't know how the water is going to behave."

Quispamsis-Saint John

Residents in Saint John's Randolph neighbourhood chat as floodwaters creep up on the property. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Flood stage: 4.2 metres

Level on Friday: 5.43 metres

Projected level on Saturday: 5.5 metres

Projected level on Sunday: 5.8 metres

Projected level on Monday: 5.9 metres

Projected level on Tuesday: 5.9 metres

EMO has urged people living in several low-lying neighbourhoods to evacuate. That includes:

  • Randolph, past the Randolph Bridge.
  • The Westfield Road area, including Morna, Morna Heights, Belmont, Ketepec, Acamac and South Bay.
  • Ragged Point Road in the north end, past the St-Francois-de-Sales Church.
  • Beach Road by Rockwood Park.
  • Any isolated areas along the St. John River.

On Friday afternoon, officials warned they are six inches away from closing the entire Westfield Road. 

The road is cut off at South Bay but still open on the north Grand Bay side. Once the entire road is closed, the only way out will be by train.

Residents on the Kingston Peninsula are also worried about being cut off, with only one ferry link, at Gondola Point, remaining.

In Rothesay, crews have been building up part of Park Drive so people can access the Kennebecasis Park neighbourhood, which has only one road in and out.

Related coverageTrickle of flood evacuees may become surge as St. John River rises, say officials

Oak Point

Deck, or dock? The river rises around on the RVs at Oak Point Campground. (Julia Wright / CBC)

Flood stage: 4.7 metres

Level on Friday: 5.73 metres

Projected level on Saturday: 5.8 metres

Projected level on Sunday: 6.0 metres

Projected level on Monday: 6.0 metres

Projected level on Tuesday: 5.9 metres

Water flooded the Kiwanis campground at Oak Point earlier this week, including campsites and the main road going down to the lighthouse. 

The campsites likely won't be accessible for several days, with the area expected to stay above flood stage over the next five days.

Related coverage: 'It's not coming down:' relentless river overruns homes, cottages

Sheffield-Lakeville Corner

Residents move the barricade out of the rising floodwater from the Saint John River in Lakeville Corner, N.B. on Wednesday, May 2, 2018. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Flood stage: 4.8 metres

Water level on Friday: 6.79 metres

Projected level on Saturday: 6.9 metres

Projected level on Sunday: 7.0 metres

Projected level on Monday: 7.0 metres

Projected level on Tuesday: 6.9 metres

Sheffield has already passed its record mark of 6.45 metres, with the water level expected to stay mostly stable over the weekend.

Related coverage: Two friends say they made the right decision to leave their homes in Maugerville and Sheffield, after water levels rose overnight

Grand Lake

Grand Lake washed over a road into Robertson's Point, near Jemseg. (CBC News)

Flood stage: 5.0 metres

Water level on Friday: 6.60 metres

Projected level on Saturday: 6.7 metres

Projected level on Sunday: 6.8 metres

Projected level on Monday:  6.9 metres

Projected level on Tuesday: 6.8 metres

Aerial photos from the Grand Lake area show cottages and homes submerged, with little hope of a reprieve during the next five days.

Related coverage: Early N.B. flood damage estimate higher than 2008 total

Jemseg

In coming days, Emergency officials expect water levels in the southern half of the province to reach historic highs. Here is a photo of flooding along Route 105 near Jemseg, a community southeast of Fredericton. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Flood stage: 4.3 metres

Water level on Friday: 6.51 metres

Projected level on Saturday: 6.6 metres

Projected level on Sunday: 6.8 metres

Projected level on Monday: 6.8 metres

Projected level on Tuesday: 6.7 metres

Water levels in Jemseg will remain stable over the next few days, but well above flood stage.

Water pooling onto the Trans-Canada Highway near Jemseg has closed the main route between Fredericton and Moncton, likely for several days. The detour adds 40 minutes to the trip.

Related coverage: Trans-Canada Highway and other road closures: Here's what you need to know

Maugerville

Water levels in Maugerville are predicted to remain above flood stage for the next five days. (Alex Vietinghoff/CBC)

Flood stage: 6.0 metres

Water level on Friday: 7.08 metres

Projected level on Saturday: 7.1 metres

Projected level on Sunday: 7.2 metres

Projected level on Monday: 7.1 metres

Projected level on Tuesday: 7.0 metres

Water levels are projected to stay stable and slightly above flood stage in the Maugerville area, where people and animals have fled the rising waters this week.

Related coveragePeople, animals scramble for safe ground as waters rise

Fredericton

Water levels will begin to recede in Fredericton over the next five days, according to the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. (Alex Vietinghoff/CBC)

Flood stage: 6.5 metres

Water level on Friday: 7.95 metres

Projected level on Saturday: 8.0 metres

Projected level on Sunday: 8.1 metres

Projected level on Monday: 7.8 metres

Projected level on Tuesday: 7.4 metres

After more than a week, Fredericton is in line for some relief. Water will start to recede from the downtown and north side, where residents have faced long bridge commutes.

"We can say that within five days, the levels should start to go down in Fredericton," Jasmin Boisvert, a water resources specialist with the Department of Environment and Local Government, said on Friday.

But with many roads still closed and streets under water, that doesn't mean people can be complacent.

"We're still well past flood stage," New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization spokesperson Geoffrey Downey said on Friday.

Related coverage: 'It's not over for the Fredericton area'