New Brunswick

New Brunswick weather: Storm causes flooding, damage to roads

Several New Brunswick roads and bridges have been washed out or closed after the province was hit by a rain storm on Wednesday.

Heavy rain washes out roads and bridges, leads to accidents across the province

Rain storm washes out roads in rural New Brunswick 1:08

The heavy rain that drenched New Brunswick on Wednesday has caused damage to roads and bridges and led to one death, car accidents and boating rescues.

The Emergency Measures Organization said heavy rains have caused flooding and many roads are water covered and were damaged by the flooding. Some areas of central and southern New Brunswick received more than 160 millimetres of rain, said EMO.

"Drainage systems have become overwhelmed in many places there are reports of localized flooding," said EMO. "The impact on private homes is reported to be significant."

The RCMP is also reporting a high number of accidents in the last 24 hours because of the torrential rain that soaked the province.

A 51-year-old Berwick man died when a retaining wall fell on him while he was trying to hook up his sump pump. He died as a result of his injuries, according to the police.

The RCMP rescued six duck hunters from Grand Lake at 8:30 p.m. after their boat began to sink. The hunters were able to make it to a small island, where they were rescued.

The police were also called to 10 vehicle accidents caused by collapsed roads or hydroplaning.

Among those accidents, a large sinkhole swallowed a car on Route 850 near Belleisle, but no one was hurt, according to the Emergency Measures Organization.

Patrick Morrison's blue Chevrolet Blazer flipped over on Route 101 in Hoyt on Wednesday night. (Kelvin Charlton/Facebook)
However, a SUV plunged into a river because of a separate washout on Route 101 in Hoyt. Patrick Morrison, the driver, has been released from the hospital.

The emergency organization said bridges are washed out in Belleisle Creek, Nerepis and Kars. 

Municipalities and other emergency officials have been warning drivers to be careful because of several road closures and washouts.

NB Power was able to return power to almost all customers by 9:30 p.m., with only nine outages remaining around the province.

Emergency Measures Organization officials said the Nashwaak River was above flood stage on Thursday, but the water level was expected to recede below flood stage by Friday morning.

EMO also advises water levels along all rivers and streams in central and southern New Brunswick will remain high and fast over the next few days.

A disaster recovery line has been activated by Service New Brunswick. Residents who have been affected by the storm can call 1-888-298-8555 to register, or they can register online.

Homeowners who have been flooded are advised to contact their insurance company and to document any repairs they make for future reference.

On Wednesday evening, the flooding hit Saint John as well as other southwestern communities, such as Milltown and St. Stephen.

Saint John firefighters helped pump out 13 flooded basements and were called to rescue two adults and an infant who got stuck on flooded Rothesay Avenue just before midnight.

St. Stephen Mayor John Quartermain and Jeff Richardson, the town's fire chief, were asking people on Wednesday night to stay at home and not drive around looking at flooded areas. 

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      A number of St. Stephen streets were flooded and businesses closed early. Fire crews were out pumping water from basements and setting barricades around flooded areas.

      "The outlying areas are a mess," said Richardson on Wednesday night.

      St. George firefighters were in St. Stephen helping the nearby community, said Quartermain.

      The heaviest rains on Wednesday were reported in:

      • Kouchibouguac: 168 mm
      • Miramichi: 154 mm
      • Bouctouche: 144 mm
      • Fredericton: 141 mm
      • St. Stephen: 133 mm
      • Saint John: 111 mm
      • Moncton: 91 mm
      • Bathurst: 89 mm

      The flooding closed many schools across the province.

      The Anglophone West School District closed schools in Oromocto, Lincoln, Geary, Fredericton Junction, Burton, Gagetown, Cambridge Narrows, Minto and Chipman.

      Belleisle Elementary, Belleisle Regional High School, École Arc-en-Ciel in Oromocto, Riverside Consolidated School and Magnetic Hill School were also closed.

      More rain on Thursday

      Environment Canada has halted the heavy rain warnings that were in place for southern New Brunswick on Wednesday.

      Heavy rains caused rising water levels in the Sussex area on Thursday morning. (Michele Brideau/Radio-Canada)
      Those rainfall alerts have been replaced by frost warnings in northwestern New Brunswick.

      Peter Coade, a CBC meteorologist, predicted the rain would end in New Brunswick on Thursday afternoon, but not until Friday elsewhere in the Maritimes.

      "The trough of low pressure or cold front that slipped south across New Brunswick … has virtually stalled over Nova Scotia," Coade said.

      These weather patterns are expected to draw moisture from disturbances along the eastern seaboard, making for continued wet weather.

      "Rainfall amounts will be great in many areas with some storm totals approaching 175 mm by the time any clearing takes place," he said.

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