Residents along the St. John River are carrying on despite persistent high waters that have caused power outages, road closures and property damage.
Although river levels are beginning to stabilize and drop in some communities, they’re expected to remain above the flood stage for days in some areas.
Twenty-five millimetres of rain and winds gusting up to 60 km/h hit southern parts of New Brunswick Saturday, causing water levels that had receded to rise again.
Burton resident Charlie Richer said he’s concerned water might spill over his retaining wall and onto his property.
“We had about a 34 foot retaining wall in front of our house last year and the water came over the retaining wall … to wash out the front yard.”
He said they added another five feet to their retaining wall this year, but the water is now lapping at the beginning of that five foot addition. Richer was sandbagging on Saturday to protect his property.
“I’m just going to take some precautionary measures to make sure it doesn’t washout the bottom of that wall or come over the wall.”
He said one of his neighbours has roughly 1,000 sandbags around his house.
“They’re doing well. I think they’re keeping most of the water out … it is what it is when you live on the river.”
Water levels in Fredericton are forecast to drop below flood stage on May 2, according to the latest River Watch forecast from the New Brunswick government.
In Saint John, water levels are expected to drop to five metres by Monday.
Travis Reis, a resident in the Saint John area, has to wake up 20 minutes earlier to cross the floodwater so he can make it to work.
“Usually the tank’s here to take us across,” Reis said. “It’s not here today, but the boys are doing the best they can.”
About 400 soldiers have been deployed in communities across New Brunswick to help assist residents with sandbags, conduct wellness checks and help people in flood-prone areas leave their homes.
The Department of Transportation said 144 roads have been impacted by flooding this year, 83 of which remain closed.
Nearly all of the shops along river side of Front Street in the Village of Gagetown have shut down because of flooding.
Thane Mallory, owner of Gulliver’s World Cafe, closed his shop on Front Street this week after water covered the restaurant’s wellhead. He said it will be several weeks before they reopen.
“As a seasonal business, your cash flow is super, super tight, and normally May is the big kickoff to the May long weekend and then you have Mother’s Day and then after Mother’s Day, you’re going into Father’s Day,” Mallory said. “And those are all events that are probably going to disappear this year.”