Spring Floods Start: New Brunswick Battles Worst in Decades

by Yvonne von Jena | May 4, 2018

According to the Globe and Mail, rising floodwaters across New Brunswick have caused evacuations, property damage, and the closing of a large section of the Trans-Canada highway between Moncton and Fredericton. Even the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy are not able to beat them back.

Areas Hit

Premier Brian Gallant said that the province is, “seeing weather events like we have never seen before” on Thursday afternoon. So far, roughly 100 homes have been evacuated, affecting about 260 people. The flooding, which began earlier this week is hitting the following areas:

  • In Saint John, waters are already at record levels; many residents have had to evacuate and the waters are projected to rise further this week
  • Along with the Trans-Canada highway, roads and bridges in the province have been closed to traffic, while dozens of other roadways and ramps are partly closed
  • In Fredericton, parts of that city’s downtown have been underwater for days
  • The Saint John riverhas hit 5.5 metres above sea level in Saint John (water levels not seen since 1973) and will likely exceed that on Saturday when forecasts say it could reach 5.9 metres

Likely Will be the Largest, Most Impactful Flood in New Brunswick

“This is most likely going to end up being the largest, most impactful flood that we have ever recorded here in New Brunswick, so it certainly puts … all of our resources and people to the test,” said Geoffrey Downey of the Emergency Measures Organization.

The problem has been exacerbated − and the water level forecast has risen − due to heavy rains overnight Thursday into Friday, which has also added to the misery of those placing sand bags around their homes in an effort to hold floodwaters at bay.

“The problem is we’re venturing into uncharted territory,” he said on Thursday. “Who knows how far it’s going to go up, so how many homes is it now going to reach?”

Expected to Get Worse

Residents along southern regions of the Saint John River basin have been advised to be on “high alert” as water levels were forecasted to increase in several areas including Quispamsis, Saint John and several smaller communities.

“There is still snow in northern regions, which will contribute to sustained flows as it melts,” officials said.