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St. George latest N.B. town to flood following higher-than-normal March rain totals


Residents in St. George, N.B., woke up Easter Sunday to not only chocolate eggs and bunnies, but water.

The water levels in the Magaguadavic River rose and spilled onto some roadways and yards after more heavy rain leading into the week, even completing surrounding some homes.

Water from the Magaguadavic River spills onto Adventure Lane with the levels still high following flooding in St. George, N.B. (Avery MacRae/CTV Atlantic)

Brian Hatt has lived by the river for more than 50 years and says it’s the worst flooding he has seen since 2010.

“That was a bad one, it put 42 inches (of water) in my basement,” Hatt recalls. “It’s just a little harder to get down to the shed down there where I keep some of my lumber but kids love it. They came here a couple of them yesterday and they wanted to go kayaking.”

Water levels had begun to recede by Monday morning, with Eastern Charlotte Mayor John Craig saying it will likely take the week for levels to return to normal.

“The only thing that saved the people this time was the amount of snow we got this winter,” says Craig. “There was hardly any snow at all this winter. There was no snow in the woods, no snow along the banks… so we were very fortunate there was no snow when we got these torrential rains.”

He had also not received any reports of damage caused by the most recent flood.

“The worst thing to happen was the psychological part of it,” Craig believes. “Especially at nighttime you can’t see it coming up and that has the stress level going up.”

The flooding was the result of the final massive dumping of rain for New Brunswickers over the Easter weekend in what was a month best be summed up as “wet.”

The first sign of what was to come in March came on the last day of February in Sussex, which suffered major flooding.

“It was like a water torture test in a way,” says David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada. “I mean there was a lot of rain, a lot of days with rain, and you could count the amount of days it didn’t rain on one hand.”

According to CTV News Atlantic Chief Meteorologist Kalin Mitchell, Sussex saw 246.3 millimetres of rain in March, more than 215 per cent more then than 30-year normals. Saint John saw more than two-and-a-half times its normal rainfall totals for the month with 298.9 millimetres of rain falling.

St. Stephen also saw more than double its average rainfall, while the Grand Manan Island saw nearly three times its normal amount for March with 312.5 millimetres falling.

Phillips says the systems seen in the Maritimes for March mirror those similar to what is commonly seen on the west coast.

“They’re almost like atmospheric rivers just pouring into the Maritimes,” he says. “Bringing all this wet Atlantic air, which is very moist, and just depositing it there.”

For residents preparing for another wet month ahead, Phillips says it shouldn’t be as much of a worry in April which, despite the old saying (April showers bring May flowers), tends to be in the bottom half for months in terms of average amounts of precipitation.

He also doesn’t expect flooding to be a major issue with most of the snow gone in the region and the ground having already begun to thaw following one of the warmest winters on record.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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