Disaster response team deployed, Red Cross at the ready in Oxford
Water Street Park in Oxford is submerged and Water Street itself in under water and closed to traffic. A disaster response team was called out to the area and the Red Cross stood by at the ready as officials keep a watchful eye on the rising River Philip and Black River. Christopher Gooding - Amherst Daily News
OXFORD - The worst appears to have passed as Oxford deals with flooding brought on by heavy rain and ice jams in the River Philip and Black River.
"As of tonight the river is still up where it was this morning, but it's not getting any higher and we don't think it will,"?EMO?co-ordinator Jim Hannon said last night.
EMO?officials were watching ice jams in both rivers closely throughout the day and while ice in the River Philip had broken up, the Black River was still jammed as of last night.
Still, EMO?closed the operations centre and the Red Cross stood down.
"The fire chief lives right next to the river and he's going to keep an eye on things overnight.?If need be we can re-open the operations centre very quickly,"?Hannon said.
Rising water caused headaches for homeowners and motorists as basements became flooded and roadways submerged.
The flood is the first major event for the new Cumberland County?Regional Emergency Measures Organization.
At the height of the flooding, Water Street was closed and a four-person disaster response team was deployed as the waters of both rivers began to rise. Meanwhile homeowners in the immediate area are contending with flooded basements.
"My basement is flooded," Oxford student Braydon Mattinson said joining a small group of curious onlookers on Water Street "My dad went downstairs and was like 'Holy.'"
At the Lions Club, volunteers with the Red Cross had beds ready for 20 people if an evacuation were ordered during the night. In 1999 the Red Cross helped evacuate residents from parts of Oxford after flooding in the same waterways overtook the community. Nearly 40 residents were displaced at that time.
"No-one has been evacuated as of yet, but the potential for flash flooding is high and we're responding to a request for support from the Emergency Measures co-ordinator for Cumberland County to have something in place as a precaution," explained Joanne Lawlor, manager of disaster services for Nova Scotia with the Canadian Red Cross.
Lawlor said every household needs to be prepared for emergencies including evacuations. Tips from the Red Cross on how to plan and prepare for disasters is available online at www.redcross.ca/prepare.
The Town of Oxford has also mobilized components of its Emergency Response Plan and is stressing residents strictly observe the road closures.
The RCMP dispatched a 12-foot aluminum boat from the Amherst Detachment.
The Environment Canada weather station is reporting that it received 42.3 millimetres of rain yesterday.
Today's forecast is calling for freezing drizzle ending this afternoon and falling temperatures.
Oxford is located about 35 kilometres south of Amherst along the Trans-Canada Highway and aside from flooding is known as Canada's Blueberry Capital.