TRANS-CANADA CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE AS FLOODING WORSENS
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By Michelle Moore
Flooding conditions in New Brunswick will get worse before they get better. The water levels have already surpassed the record levels of the 1973 flood and are forecasted to rise over the next few days.
Friday morning water levels in the St. John River had reached 5.5 metres as predicted. The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NB-EMO) expect levels to reach 5.9 metres by Monday morning. The forecast shows that water levels may start to recede on Tuesday.
Rain has also been forecasted for the province with 20 to 30 millimetres in the north and 10 to 20 millimetres in the south.
The Trans-Canada Highway (Route 2) was closed to all traffic beginning Thursday May 3 at 7pm between Fredericton and Moncton in both directions. People travelling this way must detour using Route 1 at River Glade and Route 7 at Oromocto, which results in an extra 90 kilometres.
RCMP is on the highway to help diverge traffic. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure has stated that the "Trans-Canada Highway will be closed for several days in the interest of public safety. It is impossible to say how long the closure will be in effect."
Around 1:30 Friday May 4 the NB-EMO announced that "residents in regions at risk should evacuate now." The City of Saint John simultaneously released their own statement, asking residents who live on or near Westfield Road to evacuate for their own safety.
Evacuees are asked to register with the Canadian Red Cross so that First Responders are immediately aware which houses remain to be evacuated and who may need help. They are also asked to notify New Brunswick Power so that their homes can be disconnected because "this prevents potential for fires if water contacts electrical equipment in your home."
The Canadian Coast Guard is on the scene to assist in areas that cannot be reached otherwise. The provincial government released a statement announcing a Disaster Financial Assistance Program and are offering free water testing for private wells of homes that have been flooded.
In St. John the police have taken to patrolling on four-wheelers so they may reach people that have been isolated by the waters by going off-road. At 5pm the New Brunswick Southern Railway, which has not transported passengers in years, will be shuttling residents out of the affected area stopping at the Red Cross Reception Centre at the Carleton Community Centre.
In a press conference on May 3, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said:
"It is clear that due to flooding there will be houses and families that are isolated. We will be managing a long and complex event and we will need to support New Brunswickers in many ways ... Our first priority is life saving assistance. We will evacuate people who are unable to evacuate safely and for those who remain behind we will ensure that emergency medical services are available and that officials can support those impacted."
Those looking for the latest information can consult River Watch 2018 online or use the app on their cellphones.
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