Rising water levels leave officials keeping a close eye
All eyes are on the Exploits River in the Town of Badger as rising waters pose a flood risk to the small riverside community.
Badger Mayor Mike Patey told The Advertiser on Tuesday that government officials have been monitoring water levels closely since last Thursday night, because of the elevated risk of flooding on the Exploits River and two of its tributaries — Red Indian River and Badger Brook — that run near the community.
“(The river) is stable today (Tuesday) because it was a bit mild last night and she didn’t generate as much ice up above us, but it’s going to be cold this afternoon and it’s going to be cold tonight so she will generate ice tonight,” Patey said. “The next 24-48 hours are going to be crucial for us.”
The streets at highest risk, according to Patey, are River Road, Beothuck Street, Maple Street, some areas of the Trans-Canada highway, and parts of Main Street,
Patey said, while water levels are over the bank and causing water flow onto some residential areas, there have been no serious flooding as of The Advertiser deadline on Tuesday. He said no one has been evacuated, but some residents have taken it upon themselves to vacate the at-risk areas.
“We do have a low point on Main Street where the water is basically up around a building, and if she comes up any higher she’ll come in across Main Street,” he said.
Patey said government officials have been monitoring the situation and have done assessments on various points of the river to better gauge what is happening.
“We have talked to Fire and Emergency Services, as well as Water Resources out of St. John’s, and, of course, they’re keeping an eye on it.”
Patey explained the threat comes because weather conditions the past couple of months has caused the river to generate a significant amount of pack ice.
“That ice pack jams off Red Indian flowing into (the Exploits) and Badger Brook that also flows into it, so that restricts the flow of the water and that creates backing,” he explained. “The ice pack down there is pretty solid, so the water levels we have in Badger now are probably not going to drop all that much for a while. Eventually, she’ll eat her way out if we get the proper temperatures.”
Patey said they’re hoping for milder temperatures over the next little while to help break-up some of that ice.
Despite the elevated flood risk, Patey said he feels the situation is under control.
Flood risks are not an uncommon occurrence for Badger. Last year in early February, some homes were evacuated by residents as government officials monitored the possibility of a flood risk, and in 2003, the community was victim to a major flood causing widespread damage. Patey said they’ve learned a thing or two over the years.
“There’s been a lot of work done about that over the last 10 or 11 years… sensors in the river, readings and calculations, and things like that,” Patey said. “That was major flood in 2003, but that year there was a lot of other conditions and factors.”
Patey said residents can rest assured government officials are keeping a very close eye on the situation, and will warn residents of any impending threat.
“All the agencies are working together and doing assessments on what possibly could happen. We have our own fire department on full alert, and they will be out all night on watch,” he said. “We’re checking things and looking at readings, and if the water level starts to increase, everything is ready to move in an instant.”
Patey said if anyone has anything to report about the situation, or has any questions or concerns, they should contact the Badger Town Hall at 539-2406 or the Badger Fire Department at 539-2626.
“If you’re having problems, we will have emergency people there… the fire department will help you get out of the area. Or if you need assistance or anything like that, just call one of those two numbers and someone will respond, I’ll guarantee you that.”