Thousands without power, homes evacuated as heavy rains wallop New Brunswick
Nearly 10,000 people in New Brunswick were without power Saturday morning as heavy rains pummelled the province, forcing some people in the southwest part of the province to leave their homes due to risk of flooding.
The town of Sussex advised evacuation of parts of the community Saturday morning, setting up an emergency shelter at Kingswood University.
The evacuation order affected between 80 to 100 people living near Trout Creek, according to Robert Duguay, communications director for New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.
By noon, the situation appeared to be stabilizing, and the evacuation order was lifted, Duguay said.
This morning, Duguay said those in the Sussex area were most likely to experience flooding over the weekend, and should remain “alert and aware.”
He said he didn’t have details on water levels at the moment but said all small water ways in New Brunswick were at risk today because of the volume of water the province has received.
Thousands without power
As of 11 a.m., 10,078 people are without power in the province, according to NB Power’s website.
Most of the outages are concentrated in the Kennebecasis Valley area, where 8,612 people have no electricity.
Marc Belliveau, a communications officer with NB Power, said the outages in this area are related to trees falling on power lines.
In one instance in the Quispamsis area, a tree broke, fell onto power lines and then fell on lines again after crews had lifted it off, he said.
Most of the outages were expected to be resolved Saturday morning, according to NB Power’s online outage map. But by 1 p.m., 9,660 were still without power.
Flash freezes, heavy rain make for bad roads
Environment Canada has issued weather warnings, varying from flash freezes, to heavy rain, freezing rain and snow, for every part of the province this weekend. Some northern areas are expected to experience a mix of all four, making for a messy 48 hours.
People in New Brunswick are being warned about slick driving conditions, flooding and power outages as heavy rain moves across most of the province.
“With the amount of snow currently on the ground and temperatures reaching the positive double digits, substantial snow-melt and run-off is expected with the rainfall, which could lead to flooding and potential ice jams on rivers,” the weather agency said in a statement.
“Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads.”
The New Brunswick EMO held a news conference Friday to caution residents about the likelihood of slippery surfaces for both vehicles and pedestrians, and about power outages.
Road closures pile up
Road closures began to pile up by midday Saturday as rain continued in New Brunswick. According to New Brunswick’s Department of Transportation, at least six roads were closed throughout the province:
- Route 495, and Route 485 near Moncton are closed due to washouts. Route 515 near Bouctouche is also closed due to flooding.
- A road closure and detour is now in effect on McLaughlin Drive near the Trans Canada Highway overpass in Moncton
- Wirral State Road near Wirral and Cochrane Lane near Welsford are closed to emergency vehicles due to flooding.
- Route 126 between Moncton and Miramichi is closed due to flooding
It also warned residents about the possibility of flooding in some areas.
In addition to the Sussex area, Duguay said anyone living near the Kennebecasis and Canaan Rivers are also at risk of flooding and should be vigilant, he said.
Duguay advised motorists to avoid roads covered by water as it could be dangerous.
“Water may be deeper than it appears.”
Sussex fire chief Harold Lowe said some roads have been closed in the community due to water on the roads “so we’re still actively monitoring everything.”
More than 20 firefighters and volunteers have been going door-to-door to check on residents since 3:30 a.m., he said.
“Sussex has a history of flooding … it’s just part of what happens,” he said.
“There are areas in town, when the water gauge gets to a certain level, then we, the town workers and volunteer firefighters, go door to door and we expand that as the water rises.”
Residents experiencing flooding can report issues to EMO by calling 1-800-561-4034.
If it’s an emergency, Duguay advised calling 911.