New Brunswick flooding continues to cause damage
Published Saturday, May 5, 2018 6:32PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, May 5, 2018 7:20PM ADT
A weekend of worry is ahead for New Brunswick natives already dealing with flooded properties, as many have been told to plan for the worst.
As the river continued to rise in many areas, Saturday's rain and high winds made a difficult situation even more challenging.
The water level went up overnight in the village of Gagetown, giving no relief to people who've been dealing with flooding all week.
"It's well beyond what has ever happened in the past," says resident Anne Scovil who remembers the notorious flood of 1973.
"I'm an architect and I've designed around here and that was always the benchmark for keeping any finished floor above that level. Well we need a new benchmark now," explains Scovil.
In the town of Grand Bay-Westfield, water is nipping at the edge of Dave Bowen's home.
"Unfortunately it's come in about the same height as it did in 1973. You just do the best you can to keep ahead of things, and hopefully time will be on our side," says Bowen.
The Canadian Coast Guard launched two boats Saturday morning near Grand Bay-Westfield, with the goal of riding along the nooks of the Saint John River, looking for people who may need a lift.
"Rendering assistance, medical assistance, evacuation, comfort, those types of things and to make our presence known on the water so that people feel safe and secure," says Keith Laidlaw, Deputy Superintendent for Environmental Response of the Canadian Coast Guard.
Saint John EMO Director Kevin Clifford says while they are urging people to leave the area, no one is in imminent danger.
"We don't anticipate making an evacuation mandatory at all," says Clifford.
Around Saint John, 229 people have confirmed with the city that they've evacuated.
"We encourage them to think a certain way- this isn't something where I look someone in the eye and say 'you're going to die in the next two minutes'. We're not using those authorities in this incident," adds Clifford.
Water levels are expected to continue to rise throughout the weekend in many areas along the river below Maugerville. EMO's prediction is flooding will continue well into next week.
Heavy wind whipped up an already wild Saint John River, creating even more trouble where it isn't needed.
NB Power has already cut off electricity to flood-affected properties. On Saturday, the utlity was dealing with wind related outages that at one point had nearly 30,000 customers off-the-grid.
"They are mainly caused by trees making contact with our infrastructure, and downed powerlines," says NB Power spokesperson Marie-Andree Bolduc.
The high winds blew down road blockades as well.
"People need to check not just the fact that there is or isn't a sign, if they're out and about travelling and have any questions or doubt they need to check NB 511 or listen to public officials," says Greg MacCallum of NB EMO.
All while residents watch and wonder how much damage has already been done.
"I mean we lost the front room, it's still here but we lost the floor. I am just so stuck to here and can't wait for the water go down to assess the damage, the safety, just start working to take the place back," says Gagetown resident Marian Langhus.
For now, communities across New Brunswick are coming together to help their neighbours, as they wait, watch and worry about what the water has in store for the rest of this week.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore and Laura Brown.