Residents keep close watch on ice in Little Southwest Miramichi River

April 27, 2018

Residents along the Northwest Miramichi River and the Little Southwest Miramichi River are keeping a close watch on the waterways as the ice continues to melt, move and shift as it makes its way downriver.

Brian Tozer says he woke up early Friday morning to the sound of the ice moving, then saw it was up on the road.

He took a drive along Route 420 in Sillikers, 30 kilometres from Miramichi, to check things out but turned and headed home after hydro wires were dislodged from a pole by the moving ice and fell on the road.

Residents of a seniors home along the Southwest Miramichi River left the building as a precaution until floodwaters recede. Brian Tozer/Facebook

"By the time I came back down to the house again, it's only three or 400 yards up the road, it had come up a foot and a half over the road by then. I figured I'd better get back in the yard."

Tozer said that by mid-morning the ice had stopped moving, but as the temperatures warmed up, it began moving again Friday afternoon.

Thursday's heavy rain and high temperatures had caused the ice to begin moving in the night.

Tozer's mother and other residents of a seniors residence left their building as a precaution until floodwaters recede.

"When the water was at its highest in the morning, it would have been right at their floor level."

Cottage Moved

Tozer said one cottage that was surrounded by ice was shoved off its foundation by the force of the ice.

Another damaged building had its windows broken by ice, and a house near Somers Bridge was flooded.

A building at Stewart's Tubing in Lyttleton beside Somers Bridge on the Southwest Miramichi River is surrounded by water and ice. Brian Tozer/Facebook

But Tozer said the ice and flooding are something the residents are used to in the area.

"We get that here quite a bit." 

But after a thaw and an ice run in January, and now a late melt in April, things could get worse, he said. 

"We definitely got more ice upriver, definitely a lot more ice that didn't come down yet. And when it does, yeah, it could really. She could change here pretty quick." 

Tozer said he's not worried about his home flooding but said houses, camps and cottages built closer to the river may be in danger. 

Big Flood

He recalled the last big flood in the area was on Feb. 2, 1970. 

"We had a huge flood. It took a lot of houses, it took my grandmother's house. Actually my brother had to rescue my sister out of my grandmother's house."

New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization is in the area monitoring the situation, along with the Sunny Corner Volunteer Fire Department. 

Some roads in the area remain closed. They include: 

1. Halcomb Road Just north of the Somers Bridge in Lyttleton.

2. Back Road From Johnson Bridge to Mullin Stream Road.

3. Storeytown Road At Big Hole Brook.

4. Priceville Road Near the settlement.

5. South Barnaby Road 1 km west of Route 126, under the CN overpass.

With files from CBC News.

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