Parts of Eastern Canada cope as water levels rise, flooding homes and roads

Keegan Worden, left, and David Clement check on a flooded Tim Horton's location along Main Street in Sussex, N.B., on April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Smith

Keegan Worden, left, and David Clement check on a flooded Tim Horton’s location along Main Street in Sussex, N.B., on April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Smith

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

Rain, melting snow and ice-choked rivers forced waters in parts of Eastern Canada to rise Wednesday, submerging roads, filling basements and knocking out power as officials told people to prepare in case they had to seek higher ground.

The RCMP in New Brunswick said many roads in the province were flooded and they advised people not to attempt driving through those areas.

“Our roads are impassable,” said Steven Gillies, mayor of Sussex Corner. The village, located about 120 kilometres east of Fredericton, declared a state of emergency as waters flooded about 120 homes and 10 businesses, he said.

Dozens of other homes were flooded in the neighbouring town of Sussex after the Trout Creek spilled its banks, Mayor Marc Thorne said.

“It’s devastating,” Thorne said, adding that water seeped into many homes that have not experienced flooding before, including his own where he has lived for 22 years.

“The Trout Creek has breached its banks at a height we haven’t seen in many decades and a lot of subdivisions in town are impacted.”

Danny Soucy, New Brunswick’s local government minister, urged the public to avoid lakes and rivers where possible.

“We can’t predict what’s going to happen,” Soucy said. “That’s why we keep telling people to make sure that they don’t go near bodies of water, and if they live near bodies of water to watch what’s happening and if anything changes they can get out fast and be secure.”

An ice jam knocked out several power poles in the western New Brunswick town of Woodstock, taking with it the electrical system leading to town’s water wells, said Ken Harding, the town’s chief administrative officer. As a result, a boil-water order was issued though a diesel pump was started to restore water supply.

Still, Harding said he expected it would be days before it would be safe for NB Power crews to restore power to the town’s water supply equipment.

The situation was similar in Quebec, where several rivers overflowed their banks, forcing evacuations in multiple communities.

In Sherbrooke, Que., about 500 people were forced from their homes as the Saint-Francois River grew to 7.3 metres in height — more than four times its normal level of 1.8 metres, officials said.

A seniors’ residence was also evacuated because of flooding of the Sainte-Anne River in Saint-Raymond, northwest of Quebec City. The same area was flooded twice in 2012, forcing 700 people from their homes.

High water levels have also triggered states of emergency in Centre Hastings and Tweed in eastern Ontario, joining the nearby city of Belleville.

Officials in Manitoba warned Wednesday that the prolonged cold spring will make flooding more likely for a few homes in Winnipeg.

© The Canadian Press, 2014