Residents move the barricade out of the rising floodwater from the Saint John River in Lakeville Corner, N.B. on Wednesday, May 2, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

N.B. flooding hits record levels — with more rain in the forecast

The Emergency Measures Organization says Saint John has hit water levels not seen since 1973

Floodwaters have surged past record levels in parts of New Brunswick, sending the flood-weary province into uncharted territory as forecasts indicate even more rain could be coming.

The Emergency Measures Organization says Saint John has hit water levels not seen since 1973 and will likely exceed that on Saturday, while Jemseg has surpassed historic records.

Spokesman Geoffrey Downey says the rising waters are closing roads and causing more people to evacuate in areas stretching from Fredericton south to Saint John, where the situation is expected to worsen in the coming days.

He says roughly 100 homes have been evacuated, affecting about 260 people, but that those numbers are expected to climb as the flooding continues.

The Transportation Department says 136 assets — including roads, bridges and ferries — have been affected by the expansive flood that has resulted in 80 complete road closures and five partial closures.

The provincial government launched the Disaster Financial Assistance program Wednesday to help businesses, municipalities and individuals who have suffered damage during the current flood.

Premier Brian Gallant said damage has already been reported and is likely to get worse in the days ahead.

Related: N.B. officials urge people to evacuate their neighbourhoods as floodwaters rise

The maximum assistance for private homes is $160,000, and $500,000 for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Coverage is provided to repair and clean structures and to replace basic necessities, but is not available for recreational properties.

Water levels along the Saint John River in southern New Brunswick continued to rise and emergency measures officials are urging residents in flood-prone areas to evacuate their homes.

Oromocto fire Chief Jody Price said boats are being used to rescue people from homes across the river in Maugerville, and the longer people wait to leave, the harder it is to get to them.

“The higher the water gets — and it has been a continual rise — it is more difficult for us. We went from Friday, when we could get people out of there with vehicles, to today, where we can’t go over there without a boat,” Price said.

And unless it’s an emergency, Price said people need to be moved during the daylight hours.

“We don’t send our boats and our crews in after dark for the safety of our crews. We need to move people out of there in the day time. We are urging people if you want to come out, or are thinking about coming out, then we need you to come out now,” he said.

Price said the levels of the floodwaters are the highest he has ever seen.

Further down river, people in Grand Bay-Westfield were filling sandbags and trying to protect homes Wednesday afternoon, with officials expecting a significant rise in water levels over the next few days.

Cooke Aquaculture is sending a truck loaded with 10,000 sandbags to Grand Bay-Westfield to support flood relief efforts. The company in Blacks Harbour also has boats and equipment on standby to assist, if needed.

In Saint John, the huge volumes of water in the river can only release into the Bay of Fundy at low tide, but even high tides have met their match this week against the strong currents at the city’s Reversing Falls.

Saint John resident Graeme Scott, whose home overlooks the convergence of the Saint John and Kennebecasis rivers, said he’s safe because he lives on a hill, but he’s not so sure about many of his neighbours. He said their houses are tucked into the hillside with one storey on the street and two storeys facing the water side.

“Some of their foundations are probably getting within a foot or so (of the water) and there are some people on the point that have done a bunch of sandbagging yesterday around the front of the houses,” said Scott.

“It’s right at the max of what we’ve seen before.”

Related: No way of forecasting Okanagan floods: engineer

Related: PHOTOS: Flood damage extensive in B.C. Interior

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Recruiting physicians to practice in Chilliwack is an uphill battle

Shortage of doctors is critical right across Canada, and not just Chilliwack

Chilliwack prolific offender a no-show for sentencing hearing

Warrant issued on May 17 for Jeffrey Michael Kizmann wanted for robbery

More than 100 military troops stationed in Chilliwack on flood watch

As water recedes in the Interior, military departs with a contingent to stay behind in Fraser region

De Jaeger throws his hat in the ring for Chilliwack city council

Longtime owner of Bravo Restaurant also ran in the 2015 federal election for Chilliwack-Hope

Column: Chilliwack’s RBC Cup win a dream come true

Jacob Bestebroer spent hours wondering what a championship might feel like, and finally found out.

Vancouver Island girl scores with winning song for BC Summer Games

‘Colours’ is a perfect theme for 2018 BC Summer Games

Drivers could pay $8 per day to help cut gridlock under new plan

Mobility pricing report outlines two existing models to cut Metro Vancouver congestion by 20-25%

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Courtenay-Alberni MP calls for lifeguards at popular surf spot near Tofino

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is defending its decision to cancel the surf guard program.

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Fuel truck crash closes B.C. highway, sends two to hospital

The Trans-Canada Highway on Vancouver Island is expected to be closed until Thursday evening

Most Read