St. John River levels could reach last year's peak this weekend

St. John River levels could reach last year's peak this weekend

With more rain in the forecast this week, some communities along the St. John River from Edmundston to Saint John are expected to hit or exceed flood stage this weekend.

New Brunswick's five-day flood forecast suggests the river at Fredericton, Jemseg, Maugerville, Grand Lake and Saint John will rise to flood stage or higher by Monday.

"The river's continuing to rise across the board from north to south," said Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.

Right now everyone needs to be paying attention and getting ready.

- Geoffrey Downey, Department of Public Safety

Water levels in Fredericton are expected to rise to 8.1 metres by Monday. Last's year peak was at 8.3 metres.

In Maugerville, water levels are expected to hit flood stage at 6.5 metres. In Jemseg, water levels could hit five metres. Flood stage in that area is 4.3 metres.

So far, Downey said, temperatures have been warming up in southern parts of the province, while temperatures are still below freezing at night in the north.

But temperatures in the north are expected to reach double digits in the coming days, and 80 mm of rain is forecast. 

"Right now everyone needs to be paying attention and getting ready," Downey said.

Downey is urging residents to monitor the five-day forecast to see where water levels are rising, and consider altering any Easter weekend plans. 

Downey is also reminding residents to have a 72-hour preparedness kit ready.

"There's still time for people to make preparations and they shouldn't discount that," he said. 

These should include two litres of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio, flashlight, clothes, candles, matches, cash, backup medication and food for pets.

Ice jams force water levels to rise 

Downey said residents also need to be aware of ice jams along the St. John River, which can also cause flooding.

Water levels in Perth-Andover, a village 75 kilometres north of Woodstock, were rising throughout the day because of an ice jam near Baird's Campground. River levels fell Tuesday night.

Environment Canada says river levels above and below the village fell between one and two metres overnight.

In 2012, Perth-Andover suffered catastrophic spring flood damage. At that time, the flood forced 500 people to leave their homes and the village was under a state of emergency.