Easter floods hit New Brunswick communities

Published: April 22, 2019

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New Brunswick was one of Canada’s regions where Easter brought significant spring floods, spoiling the long holiday weekend for many homeowners.

Increased snowmelt in areas of the province caused flood waters to rise. The deluge of snowmelt was predicted last week by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, which estimated a gradual buildup of snowmelt in northwest areas of the province.

Spokesperson Geoffrey Downey said to The Canadian Press last week that the melting could cause the St. John River to swell by 1.5 metres over the next week. That prediction held true over the Easter weekend and 35 roads were forced to close in New Brunswick.

“We’re confident flooding is on the way and it could be significant flooding in a number of places, including in Fredericton,” Downey said.

Premier Blaine Higgs said the floods could become severe and the government “won’t hesitate to declare a state of emergency if public safety demands it.”

Heavy rain over the weekend exasperated the situation and caused more severe flooding. Despite ongoing concerns, there have been no mandatory evacuation calls issued, but the government in NB says some residents affected by floods have left their homes voluntarily. 200 basement floods have been recorded in Fredericton.

All communities located along the banks of St. John River have been warned and are on high alert, according to the Public Safety Department.

On Easter Sunday, 120 troops from the Joint Task Force were deployed in the province to sandbag at risk areas. Lt.-Col. Sean French, commander of the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment based at Gagetown, said soldiers will also be on hand to check the welfare of residents and to help with any evacuations.