Fort McMurray under floodwaters, 27 April 2020 (Instagram/d_nyce.entertainment)
Almost four years after wildfires ravaged Fort McMurray, the northern Alberta city is now dealing with devastating flooding.
About 13,000 residents have been evacuated after ice jams on the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers forced floodwaters into the city.
Provincial officials say there are extensive ice jams on the rivers which will need to thaw before the flooding subsides.
The mayor says this is a one-in-a-100-year flood which unfortunately occurred this year on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flooding in Fredericton, 24 Apr 2019 (GNB/Yerxa)
It’s a sure sign of spring…
New Brunswick’s annual program monitoring the status of rivers, ice jams and other flood issues officially launched today.
Historic flooding in 2018 and 2019 devastated many communities along the St. John River although individuals and municipal governments were better prepared last year.
Higher than normal water levels forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway between Fredericton and Moncton for almost a week and even longer the year before.
Officials say a variety of factors contribute to flooding including precipitation, snow pack, air temperatures and river ice.
Days of rain, melting snow and ice jams have created swollen rivers and streams in Southwestern Ontario causing historic flooding.
A young boy was swept from his mother’s arms in a stranded vehicle along the Grand River near Orangeville and efforts to find him are still underway.
Streets, homes and businesses in low-lying areas of Chatham-Kent were flooded after officials say the Thames River peaked at 5.25 metres above normal Saturday.
Emergency responders had to rescue some residents by boat who were taken to a local convention centre for shelter.
Ice jam on Middle River causes flooding, 16 April 2016 (NB-EMO)
Emergency measures officials with River Watch in New Brunswick are closely monitoring the St. John River and say the only area currently above flood stage is near Jemseg.
Even with rain being forecasted by Environment Canada, water levels are expected to remain below flood stage for the rest of the week.
So far this spring, it has been relatively quiet along flood-prone areas of the St. John River system.
Along the Middle River, south of Bathurst, an ice jam created localized flooding and forced a road closure but water levels are receding.
St. John River at Perth-Andover, NB, 19 April 2015 (Twitter)
A mandatory evacuation order was lifted in Perth-Andover today after water levels dropped on the St. John River.
More than 300 residents were told to leave over the weekend after an ice jam raised fears of flooding and the Red Cross had to set up an emergency shelter.
Officials will be keeping a close eye on the river for the next few days especially with rain in the forecast.
Mountain of snow in NE Moncton, 03 April 2014 (Dearing)
Many might be surprised to learn that the average temperature in Greater Moncton in April 2014 was actually slightly above normal which seems odd given the chilly, wet and overall dreary weather.
A lack of sunshine, a lingering snow cover (which didn’t disappear until 18 April) and damp conditions slowed the arrival of spring and felt like a continuation of the severe winter we just had.
Above normal rainfall, a rapid snow melt and ice break up in rivers led to historic flooding in the Sussex region, swept away a covered bridge and washed out roads – many of which are still partially or fully closed weeks later.
APRIL 2014 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH 8.3 C
Average LOW -0.8 C
AVERAGE 3.7 C (0.2 degrees ABOVE the thirty-year average, 1981-2010)
Extreme HIGH 19.9 C (15 Apr)
Extreme LOW -7.1 C (17 Apr)
Rainfall 96.4 mm (30 percent ABOVE normal)
Snowfall 14.4 cm (50 percent BELOW normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
Cherryvale Bridge, before and after (GNB)
Covered bridges have been a storied part of New Brunswick’s history but one was lost on Wednesday.
The power of an ice jam and raging flood waters on the Canaan River swept away the Cherryvale Bridge – an 87-year-old covered crossing.
It is not yet clear when a new bridge will be built or if the provincial Department of Transportation will replace it with another covered bridge.
Flooding in Perth-Andover, NB, 25 March 2012 (CP Photo)
Flood waters have receded in Perth-Andover (pop. 1800) leaving behind a mess of mud and ice chunks in this village along the St. John River.
Inspectors are surveying the damage and are determining which homes and businesses are safe.
Some of the 500 residents forced to evacuate last week are being allowed to return.
This isn’t the first time a flood has impacted Perth-Andover, but provincial officials estimate water levels in this flood were at least a metre higher than in the past.
The flood is estimated to have caused $25 million in damage.
Floodwaters at Perth-Andover, NB, 23 March 2012 (GNB)
The record-breaking warmth and rapid snowmelt has contributed to flooding along the banks of the St. John River this weekend.
The community of Perth-Andover (pop. 1800) and Tobique First Nation have been hardest hit where ice jams and water have caused severe flooding with about 500 forced to evacuate.
New Brunswick Premier David Alward announced a recovery program for affected residents in Perth-Andover today when he toured the area.
Residents are asked tocall 1-888-298-8555 to report damage and register for disaster financial assistance.