Troops will be deployed as N.B. floodwaters creep higher

A small number of troops will be deployed within the next 24 hours to help New Brunswick prepare for flooding.

Lt.-Col. Sean French, commander of the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment based at Gagetown, said Saturday up to 120 troops will assist with flooding.

But he said the final number is still being determined as tasks for the troops are set.

He said some of the possible duties could include checking on the welfare of residents and evacuation support. The troops will have vehicles that can move through deep water to help evacuate people, if necessary.

Lauren Bird/CBC

The New Brunswick EMO is telling people who live in flood-prone areas along the St. John River to be prepared to evacuate as flood levels rise over the next few days.

Residents warned to prepare

"The time for preparedness is now," said Greg MacCallum, director of New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization.

MacCallum said the Restigouche River, Middle River and Tetagouche River are being watched for flooding as well.

"There are isolated locations there with road closures and some ice-jam movements and backing up of water, [which is] impacting a minor number of homes, but still impacting homes."

The Canadian Armed Forces said in a tweet Saturday morning that it's deploying Joint Task Force teams to assess how they can be of help in parts of New Brunswick as water levels continue to rise.

"Today our Regional JTFs are deploying reconnaissance teams to New Brunswick and Quebec to assess where we can best assist."

New Brunswick requested assistance from the federal government on Friday to help cope with flooding, according to a news release from the provincial government.

Meetings between the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization and the Canadian Armed Forces took place Friday night, the release said.

Last year, the federal government offered military help for New Brunswick's flood relief efforts. Sixty soldiers based at Gagetown were called in to advise provincial authorities on mitigation measures and co-ordinate relief efforts.

Prepare to evacuate, says EMO

People whose homes are at risk of flooding should pick up sandbags and move valuables to a higher level, the EMO's MacCallum said.

MacCallum also advised people against going near the water and said there will be street closures within the capital as the water levels rise over the next few days.

"[It's] hard to speculate, [but] water goes where water wants."

The water level in Fredericton is expected to reach eight metres Sunday. Last year the St. John River reached 8.31 metres, making it one of the worst floods in a decade.

Lauren Bird/CBC

The St. John River is expected to reach flood stage in Jemseg on Saturday, according to the Department of Environment and Local Government. Maugerville and Fredericton will surpass the flood stage Sunday.

Meanwhile, the water is receding in Edmundston, after an ice jam broke.

"It's going quite well for us for now," said Jacques Doiron, the EMO coordinator for the City of Edmundston.

"I don't think it's going to be as bad as we thought it would be [in Edmundston] and the reason why is because we didn't receive all the rain that we were supposed to."