Friday, May 11, 2018

About 60 soldiers assigned to flood relief in New Brunswick

Engineers deployed from Base Gagetown will help assess damage to roads and bridges, prioritize repairs

Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon · CBC News · Posted: May 11, 2018 12:46 PM AT | Last Updated: 22 minutes ago

About 60 soldiers will provide flood relief support to the New Brunswick government in response to a request from Premier Brian Gallant, the Canadian Armed Forces announced on Friday.

But the troops from the 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in Oromocto won't be heaving heavy sandbags out of homeowners' yards or doing cleanup work that private companies could be hired to do.

They are army engineers who will assess the damage to roads and bridges from the unprecedented flooding in the southern part of the province, and prioritize next steps.

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The soldiers will advise provincial authorities on mitigation measures and assist in planning and co-ordinating relief efforts.

"I am proud to see our members of the Canadian Armed Forces once again responding to help Canadians in their time of need," Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan said in a statement.

The flooding, which started more than two weeks ago and reached historic levels, has forced more than 1,600 people from their homes and left devastating damage in its wake, including washed-out roads and water-covered bridges.

The Trans-Canada Highway between Fredericton and Moncton was closed for more than a week but reopened Friday morning, with one lane in each direction and reduced speed limits.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was  scheduled to be in Oromocto in late afternoon to visit an incident command post and visit affected communities along the St. John River with the premier.

Gallant announced on Thursday he had requested the Canadian Armed Forces to conduct a reconnaissance mission to determine what, if any, support it could provide now that the floodwaters have started to slowly recede.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed in a tweet Thursday night that the federal government would provide support.

"The Canadian Armed Forces personnel — and this is important, I believe, for New Brunswickers affected by the floods to know — will not engage in post-flooding damage cleanup or other such tasks that would place the Canadian Armed Forces in competition with local industry," he said during an unrelated news conference in Moncton on Friday morning.

The military will not make final determinations as to the "serviceability or safety" of civilian infrastructure either.

That responsibility rests the provincial government, said Gallant.

Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, commander of Joint Task Force, Atlantic, said the mission is "a bit more personal" for the team.

"They're deploying to help their neighbours, and the communities close to where they live."

Many of the members have already been volunteering their evenings and weekends to help, said Baines.

"I'm proud to say that this is simply who they are, and what they do."

About 15 members of the 4 Engineer Support Regiment mobilized Friday morning to assess the damage in Grand Bay-Westfield, near Saint John, along with commanding officer Lt.-Col. Chris Cotton.

A larger group was touring Islandview, west of Fredericton.

Cotton said further military involvement could follow the assessment phase but added he's not in a position to make those kind of promises.

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The Gallant government has faced criticism from some residents and the Opposition for not calling in the military sooner.

But provincial and Emergency Measures Organization officials maintained they had the resources they needed during the flood itself.

Red Flag Warning issued for all of Maine

National Weather Service Caribou ME
247 PM EDT Fri May 11 2018

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-
247 PM EDT Fri May 11 2018


* 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...Into early evening.

* WINDS...Northwest 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY...As low as 23 percent.

* TEMPERATURES...In the upper 40s.

* LIGHTNING...None expected.

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


A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions
are either occurring now...or will shortly. A combination of
strong winds...low relative humidity...and warm temperatures will
create dangerous fire weather conditions.


National Weather Service Gray ME
254 PM EDT Fri May 11 2018


.Very dry air will produce relative humidity values around
20 percent into this evening. In addition, a northwest wind of 10
to 20 mph is expected with higher gusts. Good moisture recovery
is expected tonight followed by wetting rains across southern
zones Saturday.

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-
254 PM EDT Fri May 11 2018


* 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 25 mph.

* Timing...Into early evening.

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

* Temperatures...In the lower 50s.

* 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 Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions
are either occurring now....or will shortly. A combination of
strong winds...low relative humidity...and warm temperatures can
contribute to extreme fire behavior.