River Watch 2022 ends without major flooding but caution from EMO chief

The province’s River Watch program for the 2022 flood season ended Monday without major flooding, but with a warning from the director of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.

Greg MacCallum says the province was “lucky to have another mild spring freshet.”

“I hope this doesn’t lull people into a false sense of security,” he said in a statement.

“A disaster can strike at any time of the year, and every household should have an emergency plan and a 72-hour preparedness kit,” he said.

Drop in the level of the Saint John River

Water levels in all areas of the Saint John River Basin continue to decline and return to normal levels, according to a news release issued by the province.

River Watch offers daily water level forecasts for communities along the Saint John River, which is likely to burst its banks each spring, as well as areas along the Kennebecasis and Nashwaak rivers.

As of Monday, Woodstock and Gagetown are still listed at the “ones to watch” level on the program’s online portal.

Seven other communities are still in the “consultative” stage:

  • Saint-Hilaire
  • jemseg
  • Corner Sheffield-Lakeville
  • Big Lake
  • tip of oak
  • Quispamsis – Saint John
  • Hampton (Kennebecasis River)

Since March 11, hydrology experts have been monitoring river levels, watching for potential flooding from rain, snowmelt and ice jams.

This information enabled officials and the public to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety and that of their property.

“Even in years when there is little flooding, the River Watch team keeps a close eye on the waterways,” Public Safety Minister Bill Hogan said in a statement.

Since March 11, the Department of Environment and Local Government’s Hydrology Center has been working with key partners to predict flooding and collect crucial data to share with New Brunswickers, the Minister of Environment said. Environment and Climate Change, Gary Crossman. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Although the river reached flood stage in three communities, it dropped below flood stage within days, said Geoffrey Downey, a department spokesman.

Last year, an ice jam along the Saint John River in Perth-Andover in late March led to minor flooding on a nearby road and the closure of schools in the village for two days.

In 2018 and 2019, water levels on the Saint John River rose well above flood stage in several communities, including Fredericton, Maugerville and the Saint John area, resulting in millions of dollars in property damage.

Operated for 8 weeks

The River Watch program depends on a formula to decide when to shut down operations for the year. In a low-risk flood year, it typically ends in May, Downey said.

Last year it closed in mid-April, but that was an outlier, according to Downey.

Over the past eight weeks, the River Watch team has issued public advisories, conducted interviews with provincial media and kept the public informed through social media.

The program is a joint effort of the Department of Environment and Local Government, NB Power and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization of the Department of Justice and Public Safety.

Other partners include Environment and Climate Change Canada, watershed groups, and federal, provincial and state agencies involved in monitoring and forecasting water flows in rivers and streams across the province.

About Raymond Lang

Check Also

Daine is the star of Future-Emo

The Melbourne artist daine uses an interesting collection of words to describe himself: goblin, a …