EMO says flood forecast improving for next few days, but urges caution

·2 min read
Officials with New Brunswick's River Watch program say the flood forecast for the next five days is favourable. (Stephen MacGillivray/Canadian Press - image credit)
Officials with New Brunswick's River Watch program say the flood forecast for the next five days is favourable. (Stephen MacGillivray/Canadian Press - image credit)

The Nashwaak River is expected to remain under flood stage for the coming days, according to the latest forecast from New Brunswick's River Watch program.

On Friday, the province's Emergency Measures Organization said the river could reach flood stage — 21 metres — on Saturday and Sunday.

Geoffrey Downey, spokesperson for River Watch, said Saturday's updated forecast is much more favourable but said people who live along the river should be vigilant.

"Five days is a long time for a flood forecast, we're pretty confident over three," said Downey who advises that ice jams can still be a problem — and they're not predictable.

"The water is going to keep moving whether there's an ice jam or not, and if there's an ice jam it means it goes around it, and that's how you end up with flooding that you really couldn't predict or count on," Downey said.

There have been two ice jams since Friday along the Nashwaak River that caused a spike in water levels, but neither reached flood level. Both were resolved quickly.

But that's the type of activity that's worrisome to Downey.

"Everyone needs to be paying close attention right now."

He said the conditions have been favourable so far this year up until this weekend, and said there have been no reports of flooding along the St. John River.

Start of flood season

"If you look at the gauge for Fredericton, for example, we're well below flood stage and will remain below flood stage for at least the next five days, it looks like."

Downey said although the forecast is promising for the coming days, he cautions that this is the beginning of the flood season.

He said people need to be "prepared" and "aware."