04/20/2014 09:24 EDT | Updated 06/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Saint John River ice mass moving, water levels could rise

Emergency officials in New Brunswick are keeping a close eye on ice that is slowly moving down the Saint John River after a 35-kilometre ice jam broke in two overnight.

Water levels around Tobique First Nation and Perth-Andover, where some residents have voluntarily left their homes, remain high.

There have been concerns that if the ice jam in Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska began to move, as it did overnight, it could cause significant flooding if it met a second jam downriver in Muniac.

Officials said Sunday that water levels are expected to rise in Perth-Andover, but that the situation has "stabilized somewhat compared to yesterday." 

"Levels remain high and we continue to ask people to stay on alert through all areas of the province," said Lisa Harrity, a spokeswoman with New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization.

EMO said water levels remain above flood stage in some parts of the province, including Fredericton, Maugerville, Jemseg, Grand Lake, Sheffield and Lakeville Corner.

Water levels are also expected reach flood stage Sunday in Quispamsis, Saint John and Oak Point in southern New Brunswick. 

Crews have barricaded a portion of Lawrence Long Road in Saint John and a city official is urging motorists to respect detours and barricades meant to help them avoid flood spots.

Municipal officials have asked residents in low-lying areas of Perth-Andover to voluntarily leave their homes. Some residents have also left their homes in the community of Notre-Dame in eastern New Brunswick as water backs up at Falconer Road.

Water levels and ice jams in rivers are also being monitored in other spots across the province, including Woodstock and Bathurst.