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Monroe County prepares for potential flooding this spring and summer

Mar 29, 2018

Public service workers gear up for another rainy season and potential flooding along Lake Ontario
Credit Tianna Manon/WXXI News

While many in Monroe County are hoping for warm spring-like weather soon, county officials are preparing for rain and flooding. County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo met with several local agencies on Thursday to discuss flooding preparedness and Lake Ontario's high lake levels. 

She says they have more than 40,000 sandbags stockpiled and are working out how to utilize aqua dams, giant refillable tubes that block water when laid down.

“The purpose of today is as we look at lake levels and receive the news from the IJC regarding what they’re planning on doing with lake levels and heading into our rainy season, we want to make sure that if we have further damage that may occur with rising levels that we continue to be prepared for the best protection of our residents,” she said.

She’s talking about the International Joint Commission. State and County officials have called on the  group to maximize lake outflows which reduce flooding along the shore. Governor Andrew Cuomo says outflows are higher than they were this time last year, but it’s not enough.

"After the disastrous flooding situations on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River last year, it is critical that we remain vigilant and take whatever measures are necessary for ensuring that history does not repeat itself,” he said. "While New York has undertaken a wide range to preventative measures to protect against flooding, it would all be negated if the IJC mistakenly reduces outflows. With dozens of communities still recovering, the Commission must make the right decision and continue to maximize river and lake outflows."

But until that decision is made, Dinolfo says they must do what they can to protect residents.

“We’re sending appropriate number of bags to our residents to make sure their homes are protected and they are protected,” she said. “[We have] to make sure folks in the community stay safe.”

And residents can play a part by monitoring the forecast, making their own flooding plan and checking up on each other,

“Check on your neighbors, make sure they’re safe,” she said. “We have to band together make sure each of us remains safe in this community but rest assured to the county residents, we have wonderful first responders in this community and community leaders who work well together and this will be no different.”