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NB residents keep an eye on annual ice melt

Nathan Coleman, Reporter
April 1, 2013 — After a troublesome winter, spring has arrived in the Maritimes, along with warmer temperatures and a long-awaited melting of the ice in many rivers and lakes. In New Brunswick, people living along the province's rivers have already had to deal with flooding. Nathan Coleman reports from Stanley, N.B.

Ice jams can be a problem on the upper reaches of New Brunswick's major rivers.
Ice jams can be a problem on the upper reaches of New Brunswick's major rivers.

The community of Stanley, N.B., has been cautiously awaiting the arrival of warmer temperatures after an ice jam caused flooding in mid March. The ice has finally made its way around a turn in the Nashwaak river, where it had been stuck for weeks.
“We can finally get a bit of rest and try to get ourselves back to some normal state," Stanley Fire Department Chief Shawn Sampson said.
The Stanley Fire Hall was under water after the river initially flooded, and members of the Volunteer Fire Department are still cleaning up as they assess the damage.
“We had almost two feet of water. I had thousands upon thousands of dollars of radio equipment, saws, pumps, all underwater that are all destroyed," Sampson said. "We’re still working on it. I’m hoping to have it finalized this weekend but we’re getting close to $300,000 worth of damage in the fire hall alone.”
Spring is always an anxious time of year for people living along the Nashwaak and St. John rivers. Over the weekend, the fact that drifting ice was passing under the bridge gave Stanley residents hope that the worst is over. 

“We’re fine now cause there’s no more ice coming down. It’s just the odd little piece," Green Hill resident Jerry Gibbons said.

But while the ice has made some progression, it still has a ways to go.
“What could happen is it could all pile up and once it does finally break free, that’s when you really get into trouble cause it’s such huge pieces upending and causing damage to the bridge, or if it gets high enough to get up to the edge of the bridge even," Gibbons said.
Everyone in Stanley hopes it continues on its current path.
“The ice is eroding away underneath so it's making a normal channel, its original channel, going down the river," Fire Chief Sampson said. "Hopefully it doesn't catch up later, farther on down, but as of right now, it seems to be making it’s way and hopefully taking us out of any threat.”
As the ice continues to melt in these warmer temperatures and makes its way further down the river, you can be sure everyone living in the communities along it will be keeping a watchful eye.

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