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New Brunswick community lifts evacuation order as flood risks fade

The sun sets on the St. John River in Fredericton on April 17, 2014.

ANDREW VAUGHAN/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Water levels receded Monday in some New Brunswick communities but others continued to keep a wary eye as the possibility of flooding remained.

A voluntary evacuation order was lifted Monday morning in the northwestern New Brunswick village of Perth-Andover, bringing relief to the community that was devastated by flooding two years ago.

"Things are looking really good," said Justine Waldeck, a spokeswoman for the village.

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A massive ice jam breached the Grand Falls dam north of the community early Sunday and started heading for Perth-Andover, prompting concerns the St. John River would spill its banks.

But Waldeck said the jam passed safely through the village, coming to rest downstream above the Beechwood dam where another patch of ice is located, but water was flowing underneath it Monday.

The voluntary evacuation order issued Wednesday affected 49 homes, and 35 families heeded the warning.

River Watch warned last week that Perth-Andover could see flooding reminiscent of March, 2012, when flood waters caused extensive damage and forced the evacuation of 185 homes.

But the St. John River was expected to remain at flood stage in Fredericton and Maugerville through Tuesday, and above flood stage further down river in places such as Jemseg and Grand Lake, said Paul Bradley, a communications officer with the province's Department of Public Safety.

Bradley said crews were keeping a close eye on the road to Darling's Island in the Kennebecasis River, east of Saint John, and boats would be used to ferry residents to and from their homes if the water levels submerged the road.

In Cocagne, on the east coast of the province, a large culvert was washed out Sunday night, cutting off access to 12 homes that had already been under precautionary evacuation.

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Bradley warned people to stay away from the edge of waterways and avoid using boats or kayaks in fast currents.

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