December kicks off with up to 180 mm of rain in some areas

·2 min read

New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization is warning residents to pay close attention to Tuesday's rainfall warnings.

Environment Canada has marked the first day of December by issuing a rainfall warning for more than half the province.

Central and southwestern parts of New Brunswick can expect between 40 and 120 millimetres of rain Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

However, some regions in southwestern New Brunswick could see up to 180 millimetres.

"No one should be caught off guard at this point, so stay informed through trusted sources and make sure you are prepared to react if needed," said Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick EMO.

Downey said people should also check their storm drains and rain gutters and have an emergency kit ready.

Special weather statements issued

The national weather agency has also issued a special weather statement for eastern New Brunswick, where up to 50 millimetres of rain is expected. Those areas include:

  • The Acadian Peninsula.

  • Bathurst and Chaleur region.

  • Kent County.

  • Kouchibouguac National Park.

  • Miramichi area.

  • The Moncton area.

Environment Canada said similar rainfall events in the past have caused road washouts and localized flooding in low-lying areas.

"Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads," the agency said in a statement.

Derek Spalding/CBC
Derek Spalding/CBC

"Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Don't approach washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts."

Environment Canada says the storm is similar to one that caused severe flooding in December 2010.

This year, however, the ground is not frozen so it should be able to absorb a lot more rain.

"We've been running a water deficiency throughout the province for pretty much all of 2020," said Jill Mapea, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

"The ground is not very saturated at all."

After a bit of a lull Tuesday morning, Mapea said the heaviest rain was expected Tuesday afternoon and evening.

"Fingers crossed it doesn't come down too hard," she said, "but I think a lot of people with wells are welcoming this rain." However, Mapea wasn't ruling out the possibility of flooding.

"You never know. Sometimes a big downpour can raise those levels really quick."

Populated areas might expect some street flooding, she said if storm drains are overwhelmed.