Ice jam along St. John River closes 3 Perth-Andover schools for Monday

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An ice jam along the St. John River in Perth-Andover. (Village of Perth-Andover - image credit)
An ice jam along the St. John River in Perth-Andover. (Village of Perth-Andover - image credit)

Three schools in Perth-Andover, N.B., will be closed on Monday because of an ice jam along the St. John River.

Andover Elementary School, Perth-Andover Middle School, and Southern Victoria High School will be closed for the day, according to a memo sent Sunday by the Anglophone West School District,

Students and families should prepare for remote learning on Tuesday in case the buildings need to remain closed.

The ice jam caused flooding on part of Route 105 leading to Tobique First Nation. The road was closed as of Sunday afternoon.

Perth-Andover Mayor Marianne Bell said an ice jam, along with water on Route 105, automatically cancels school for the area.

She said buses can't use the road and, with an ice jam, "the water could suddenly rise higher."

Officials with New Brunswick's River Watch program said the flood forecast for the next five days is looking favourable.
Officials with New Brunswick's River Watch program said the flood forecast for the next five days is looking favourable.(Stephen MacGillivray/Canadian Press)

She said the water levels along the river weren't at flood stage on Sunday, but an ice jam is always a cause for concern for residents. "We go through this every spring," Bell said.

Bell said the ice jam was about four kilometres in length on Sunday, spanning from the middle of the village, starting at the bridge that crosses the St. John River, to the beginning of the Tobique River.

She said there's another ice jam going down to Beechwood Dam.

There weren't any reports of other flooding in the area as of Sunday.

Officials with the province have been warning of potential ice jams along the St. John River this weekend.

"People need to be taking this very seriously," said Geoffrey Downey, spokesperson for River Watch.

"This is no longer our warning messages about it could happen — it is happening," he said.

There are weather warnings in place for parts of New Brunswick for Sunday night.

The northern part of the province could see up to 20 centimetres of snow and the southern part could see up to 45 millimetres of rain into Monday morning.

Still, Downey said the flood forecast for the next few days is favourable, but things can change.

"What we want everyone to do is to pay close attention," he said.