New Brunswick – The River Watch program will provide New Brunswickers with information on the status of rivers, potential ice jams and other flood issues across the province over the coming weeks.

“After back-to-back years with very little flooding, I hope no one has forgotten the serious impact spring flooding can have,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Hogan. “While people who live in flood-prone areas prepare for this year’s freshet, this is a good reminder for New Brunswickers everywhere to take the time to ensure they know the risks in their area, have a plan and are prepared to deal with unexpected events.”

The River Watch program is a collaboration between the Department of Environment and Local Government and the Department of Justice and Public Safety’s New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. Other partners include NB Power, watershed groups, federal and provincial governments as well as agencies in the United States involved in monitoring and forecasting the water flow in the Saint John River Basin.

“Our Hydrology Centre provides accurate and timely forecasts, which are critical as we work with our partners to ensure New Brunswickers have the information they need, when they need it,” said Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman. “Snow-water equivalency is one of several factors we take into account when making a forecast. Rainfall amounts and how quickly we transition from winter to spring-like temperatures can also influence the type of spring freshet we will have.”

Each morning, River Watch officials, including hydrology experts, receive a weather briefing and collect data from several sources to develop river models and forecasts. The public is then informed if there are potential threats.

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During the River Watch season, New Brunswickers are advised to:

  • be prepared for possible flooding and have a plan to evacuate and be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours;
  • move belongings to higher ground if their property is near a waterway or is in an area that is prone to flooding;
  • avoid the banks of waterways, as they become dangerous this time of year. The water is cold and currents are swift and could carry debris;
  • be aware that, as ice continues to deteriorate, it will become unsafe to cross waterways on foot, in cars, or on snowmobiles or ATVs;
  • call the River Watch toll-free number, 1-888-561-4048, to receive the latest recorded water levels, forecasts and public advisories;
  • call 511 for road closures and conditions or check online;
  • read helpful tips, the latest forecasts and public advisories by visiting the River Watch website, or by following the Emergency Measures Organization on Twitter and Facebook; and
  • report significant ice jams or rising water. If you need advice, contact the Emergency Measures Organization at 1-800-561-4034.

Weather warnings are also available online.

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization co-ordinates preparedness for emergencies. It also co-ordinates provincial response and recovery operations during emergencies and administers disaster financial assistance programs.

Disaster financial assistance from the government is only available to help New Brunswickers for losses that could not be insured. Overland flood insurance is available. Contact your insurer for more information.

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