Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fire Weather Watch issued for all of Maine

National Weather Service Caribou ME
334 PM EDT Thu May 10 2018


.A cold front will move east of the region early Friday. Gusty
northwest to west winds will develop in the wake of the front
along with falling humidity levels. The gusty winds, falling
humidity levels and recent dry conditions will produce an
increased fire threat Friday.

Northwest Aroostook-Northeast Aroostook-Northern Somerset-
Northern Piscataquis-Northern Penobscot-Southeast Aroostook-
Central Piscataquis-Central Penobscot-Southern Penobscot-
Interior Hancock-Central Washington-Coastal Hancock-
Coastal Washington-Southern Piscataquis-Northern Washington-
334 PM EDT Thu May 10 2018


The National Weather Service in Caribou has issued a Fire Weather
Watch for a high fire danger, which is in effect from Friday
morning through Friday evening.

* AFFECTED AREA...Fire Weather Zone 001 Northwest Aroostook, Fire
  Weather Zone 002 Northeast Aroostook, Fire Weather Zone 003
  Northern Somerset, Fire Weather Zone 004 Northern Piscataquis,
  Fire Weather Zone 005 Northern Penobscot, Fire Weather Zone 006
  Southeast Aroostook, Fire Weather Zone 010 Central Piscataquis,
  Fire Weather Zone 011 Central Penobscot, Fire Weather Zone 015
  Southern Penobscot, Fire Weather Zone 016 Interior Hancock, Fire
  Weather Zone 017 Central Washington,  Fire Weather Zone 029
  Coastal Hancock, Fire Weather Zone 030 Coastal Washington, Fire
  Weather Zone 031 Southern Piscataquis and Fire Weather Zone 032
  Northern Washington.

* TIMING...Friday morning through Friday evening.

* WINDS...Northwest to west 10 to 20 mph with gusts of 30 to 35 mph.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY...As low as 25 to 30 percent.

* TEMPERATURES...Around 50 north to the upper 50s to around 60

* LIGHTNING...None expected.

* IMPACTS...Any fires which ignite could spread very rapidly and
  become out of control.


A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions
are forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible
Red Flag Warnings. You should check with your local fire
department or forestry office before doing any burning. Please
remember that a burn permit is required for all burning.



National Weather Service Gray ME
244 PM EDT Thu May 10 2018


.A cold front will move through the region tonight, ushering in a
cool and very dry air mass straight out of the Arctic. While
temperatures warm on Friday from the strong May sun, the very dry
air will produce relative humidity values around 20 percent. In
additiona, a northwest wind of 10 to 20 mph is expected with
higher gusts, setting the stage for rapid fire growth if a fire
were to occur.

Northern Oxford-Northern Franklin-Central Somerset-
Southern Oxford-Southern Franklin-Southern Somerset-Interior York-
Interior Cumberland-Androscoggin-Kennebec-Interior Waldo-
Coastal York-Coastal Cumberland-Sagadahoc-Lincoln-Knox-
Coastal Waldo-Northern Coos-Southern Coos-Northern Grafton-
Northern Carroll-Southern Grafton-Southern Carroll-Sullivan-
Merrimack-Belknap-Strafford-Cheshire-Eastern Hillsborough-
Interior Rockingham-Coastal Rockingham-
Western And Central Hillsborough-
244 PM EDT Thu May 10 2018


The National Weather Service in Gray has issued a Fire Weather
Watch for critical fire weather conditions, which is in effect
from Friday morning through Friday evening.

* Affected Area...Fire Weather Zone 001 Northern Coos, Fire
  Weather Zone 002 Southern Coos, Fire Weather Zone 003 Northern
  Grafton, Fire Weather Zone 004 Northern Carroll, Fire Weather
  Zone 005 Southern Grafton, Fire Weather Zone 006 Southern
  Carroll, Fire Weather Zone 007 Northern Oxford, Fire Weather
  Zone 007 Sullivan, Fire Weather Zone 008 Northern Franklin,
  Fire Weather Zone 008 Merrimack, Fire Weather Zone 009 Central
  Somerset, Fire Weather Zone 009 Belknap, Fire Weather Zone 010
  Strafford, Fire Weather Zone 011 Cheshire, Fire Weather Zone
  012 Southern Oxford, Fire Weather Zone 012 Eastern
  Hillsborough, Fire Weather Zone 013 Southern Franklin, Fire
  Weather Zone 013 Interior Rockingham, Fire Weather Zone 014
  Southern Somerset, Fire Weather Zone 014 Coastal Rockingham,
  Fire Weather Zone 015 Western And Central Hillsborough, Fire
  Weather Zone 018 Interior York, Fire Weather Zone 019 Interior
  Cumberland, Fire Weather Zone 020 Androscoggin, Fire Weather
  Zone 021 Kennebec, Fire Weather Zone 022 Interior Waldo, Fire
  Weather Zone 023 Coastal York, Fire Weather Zone 024 Coastal
  Cumberland, Fire Weather Zone 025 Sagadahoc, Fire Weather Zone
  026 Lincoln, Fire Weather Zone 027 Knox and Fire Weather Zone
  028 Coastal Waldo.

* Winds...Northwest 5 to 15 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.

* Timing...Friday morning through Friday early evening.

* Relative Humidity...As low as 20 percent.

* Temperatures...Peaking in the mid 50s to mid 60s.

* Lightning...None

* Impacts...Very dry conditions will combine with gusty northwest
  winds to produce dangerous conditions for wildfires. If a fire
  develops, it could spread rapidly in these conditions. Use extra
  precaution to avoid starting a fire.


A Fire Weather Watch means that critical fire weather conditions
are forecast to occur. Listen for later forecasts and possible
Red Flag Warnings.


New Brunswick asks for military assistance in flood cleanup

Armed Forces will be performing a reconnaissance mission to see how they could help

Colin McPhail, Sarah Petz · CBC News · Posted: May 10, 2018 6:18 AM AT | Last Updated: 22 minutes ago

Water levels dropping, but EMO says many communities still 'well above' flood stage
Military examining what role it could play in flood recovery
MRDC official says Trans-Canada Highway could fully re-open on Friday afternoon
More than 1,500 New Brunswickers displaced by flooding
The Canadian Armed Forces will be performing a reconnaissance mission to see what, if any, role it can play during during the flood recovery in New Brunswick, Premier Brian Gallant announced Thursday.

The mission comes at the province's request as the focus of residents and emergency officials shifts to the cleanup effort now that water levels are receding in the lower basin of the St. John River.

Safety hazards persist as floodwaters retreat, say New Brunswick officials
Province works on some financial relief for cottagers devastated by flood
Saint John closes 4 parks, underscoring health hazards of floodwaters
Gallant said the mission will determine what kind of role the military could play and the province should receive an answer in the next 24 hours.

"We certainly hope that the answer will be yes, because we would like to see as much support as possible to try to get the cleanup done as quickly as possible," the premier said during news conference in Fredericton.

Water levels along the river continued to drop Thursday, though most southern riverside communities remain above flood stage and many homes are still under water.

"The priority will be for us to keep them safe," Gallant said. "But there are people that are getting into the recovery stage, and we want to do everything we can to support them in getting their lives back to normal as quickly as possible.

"That means all hands on deck."

The province has received pressure from some residents as well as opposition MLAs to call in the military to assist the relief effort. Both provincial and Emergency Measures Organization officials have said a continuous conversation with the military about available resources has occurred during the flood.

According to Gallant, as of Saturday, Brig.-Gen. Derek Macaulay, commander at Base Gagetown, decided there were no tasks appropriate to delegate to the armed forces. On Tuesday, the EMO said no more assistance is needed from the federal government.

EMO has already requested help from the federal government, and it received boats from Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

By Thursday afternoon, the Red Cross has registered 1,516 displaced New Brunswickers from 655 homes.

Road closures

It's all on hands on deck as well at the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Operations director Ahmed Dassouki said technical teams are deployed to restore and recertify affected roads and bridges — more than 150 have been affected by flooding.

"We will be using all available staff and resources for the restoration effort, including bringing in casual workers earlier than usual or required," he said. "We're also ready to move staff from divisions that weren't impacted by the flood to areas that have been hard hit."

The department is also reaching out to private contractors and Public Works Canada, if needed.

As the river drops, so does the number of closed roads. For a list of affected roads, click here.

The Trans-Canada Highway between Fredericton and Moncton remains closed. But Norman Clouston, the general manager of the Maritime Road Development Corp., said the highway could reopen Friday afternoon.

Clouston said debris and driftwood is being cleared from the highway on Thursday.

When the highway reopens, the MRDC official said one lane will open in each direction and the speed limit will be about 70 km/h.

He said preliminary inspections have revealed erosion at the side of the highway, but so far it doesn't seem to have undermined the highway itself.

River forecast

Water levels in the lower basin will continue to retreat in the coming days, as the worst of what Gallant called "the largest most impactful flood ever recorded in our province" has passed.

Want to know how fast floodwaters are receding? We have a chart for that
The river at Fredericton hovered around seven metres Thursday, and it should return to below flood stage, 6.5 metres, by Saturday, according to the province's River Watch outlook.

The water level in Saint John still remains above the previous high of 5.4 metres in 1973, but it will gradually fall to below flood stage (4.2 metres) by Sunday. Maugerville and Oak Point should also drop below flood stage on the weekend.

The communities of Grand Lake, Jemseg and Sheffield will see water levels slowly decline, but the forecast suggests it will be next week before the levels fall below flood stage.

Despite the continuing decline, Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the provincial EMO, said water levels are still "well above" flood stage in some communities.

He cautioned people against returning home. If they do go home, they should make sure they do safely and approach their properties with caution.

"We understand that some people have been out for 10, 11, 12 days and they're frustrated, and they want to see what the immediate future holds in terms of starting the recovery process," Downey said. "But rushing back into a potentially dangerous situation doesn't help anyone in the end.

"Who knows what's happened in their absence?"

Cleanup kits available 

Starting Thursday, the Red Cross is providing free flood cleanup kits.

The kits are filled with useful items such as a mop, broom, squeegee, scrub brush, sponges, work gloves and latex gloves, masks, garbage bags and a bleach-based all-purpose cleaner. 

They can be picked up at the Red Cross offices at Loch Lomond Place at 12 MacDonald St. in Saint John, and 318 Maple St. in Fredericton, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, including on the weekend. There is a limit of one kit per household.

The province is cautioning residents against emptying sandbags near watercourses or wetlands, saying sandbags should be disposed through debris collection or a regional landfill.

In Fredericton, the city's park and ride shuttle services will continue until Friday, though commutes should be a little easier this morning as all of the Westmorland Street Bridge ramps are back open.

Many roads in the area are still closed, however, including Lincoln Road at the city limits (or Baker Brook), Riverside Drive at Route 8, and Morrell Park.

In the Saint John area, four public parks are closed due to possible contamination due to flooding: Robertson Square, Tucker Park, and Lower Shamrock parks in the north end, and Dominion Park on the west side.

Hazards persist

As cleanup efforts begin, health officials are warning property owners to watch out for mould and other contaminants.

Dr. Na-Koshie Lamptey, the regional medical officer of health, said people should wear long-sleeved shirts and pants as well as rubber gloves while cleaning up their homes and businesses, because floodwaters may have contaminated their property.

N.B. floodwaters contaminated with sewage, EMO warns, as water levels keep rising
Masks should be worn as well by people who spot any mould spores, she said.

"It can start to grow fairly quickly in a matter of days," she said.

Symptoms of exposure to mould include irritation of the mouth, nose and eyes, Lamptey said, and respiratory problems could worsen.

If people are on a private water system that has been flooded, they should be boiling their water or using an alternative source for drinking and cooking.

The Emergency Measures Organization and Department of Health are also telling residents not to eat fiddleheads that were picked from flooded riverbanks, since they may be contaminated.

Floodwaters may have contaminated much of this season's fiddleheads
"There's just no way of knowing if there's a chemical that may make you sick," Lamptey said.