WXXI AM News

flooding

The amount of water that officials on the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board are releasing from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River continues to be above the usual outflows for this time of year. That's due to the fact that lake levels are still over the so-called trigger levels in the government's water management, called Plan 2014. When those levels are exceeded, the Board can deviate from the Plan, allowing for more water to be pushed into the river.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state will be suing the International Joint Commission for failing to properly manage water levels on Lake Ontario.

The governor addressed reporters and local public officials on the deck of Silk O’Loughlin’s in Irondequoit, overlooking the water.

"The facts of the matter are plain and simple," Cuomo said. "The IJC's function is to manage the lake level. That is their job, to manage the lake level. They have failed to manage the lake level. Period."

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced some changes this week to his plan to build back the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

The state's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative -- or REDI -- Commission has been meeting with people from municipalities all along the shoreline.

The state is putting aside $300 million to fund resiliency projects in these communities, which have seen major flooding in recent years.

We’re joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo for a conversation about efforts to remediate flooding on Lake Ontario. Last month, the governor announced $300 million in funding to improve infrastructure along the shoreline. The pledge is part of the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI, commission – a multi-agency effort that will implement legislative changes, aid packages, and executive actions to address the flooding.

Cuomo has been critical of the International Joint Commission (IJC) and its efforts to alleviate the flooding. The IJC has defended its plan to address the issue and says this year’s severe flooding was caused by excessive rain and inflows from the upper Great Lakes.

We hear from Cuomo, and then, we’re joined by Jane Corwin, U.S. commissioner and chair of the IJC. Our guests:

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

As Lake Ontario lingers at record highs, public outcry against the group that manages lake levels continues to rise.

Barbara Hasenauer lives on Edgemere Drive in Greece. While picking up sandbags to protect her property from the incessant flooding, she said it’s something she shouldn’t have to do.

"I’m very angry about it," she said. "They can do something, but they don’t. And I don’t mean the people in Greece -- they’ve been great -- but it’s the IJC."

The IJC, or International Joint Commission, is the bi-national group that oversees Great Lakes Management.

Live on Lake Ontario? Here's a tool to help you plan for future flooding

Jun 7, 2019
Screenshot from NY Sea Grant app

People with property along the shores of Lake Ontario can now see how they might be affected by flooding in the future.

A new tool developed by a New York research program maps out potentially vulnerable areas along the lake.

Record high water levels on Lake Ontario are expected to crest in the next few weeks and then start to go down.

Once that happens, people with lakefront property damaged from the flooding are left with a question: Rebuild what was there before or rethink where to build next?

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

People who live along the south shore of Lake Ontario are still contending with flooding threats, particularly when the wind comes from a northerly direction, but experts say there may be some hopeful signs as we head into the summer.

As of Monday, the Lake Ontario level was at 249.02 feet, exceeding the record of 248.95 feet that was set in 2017.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board says that the water will likely rise gradually over the next several days, but is expected to reach this year’s peak within one to three weeks.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Around Sodus Point you can already see the effects of high water levels. Take Arney’s Marina on the bay -- their service dock is underwater, and a pump runs constantly to keep water out of the building.

Mayor Dave McDowell says they filled hundreds of sandbags Wednesday and are going to start setting them up around the village next week. He's also declaring a state of emergency this week in order to set up equipment like pumps and hoses throughout town.

Water is being let out of Lake Ontario at record rates, but it’s doing little to relieve high water on the south shore, in New York. Last year, flooding caused millions of dollars in damage to residences and businesses, and in some areas drove people from their homes for months.

One neighborhood in Hamlin, New York, was hit particularly hard. Now, residents there say they fear another harsh flood season.