great lakes

Historically high water levels are still afflicting the shores of Lake Ontario. And change likely won’t come until early June - that’s when lake levels are expected to crest. The flooding has affected hundreds of properties since March. Veronica Volk is the Great Lakes Today reporter and producer for WXXI News. She has been tracking this story for the past two months and she joins this edition of Need to Know to explain what’s going on and what’s to come.

Alex Crichton / WXXI News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WXXI News & AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to monitor the rising water levels plaguing the shores of Lake Ontario.

Technical teams are being deployed Tuesday in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties in northern New York, Mexico Point in Oswego County on the eastern shore of the lake and at Fair Haven State Park in Wayne County on the south shore.

Veronica Volk/WXXI News / Great Lakes Today

Flooding along the south shore of Lake Ontario is prompting some additional warnings.

The Town of Irondequoit has declared a state of emergency because of rising water levels on the lake and Irondequoit Bay.

Effective 5pm on Friday, all boats on Irondequoit Bay must travel at an idle speed when they are within 500 feet of the shore so that they don’t create a wake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is among the agencies continuing to help those impacted by the flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Lieutenant Colonel Adam Czekanski  is the Buffalo District Commander for the Corps (CORE).

He says the Corps is sending out engineers, to help  state and local officials assess the infrastructure needs in the affected communities.

Alex Crichton

Lawmakers gathered Thursday in a flooded area of a Webster tavern to announce legislation that would expedite emergency funding for counties and towns dealing with water infrastructure issues.

The entertainment area and rear docks of the Bayside Pub on Irondequoit Bay are submerged.

State officials used that as a backdrop to announce that legislation which would provide emergency assistance immediately for municipalities has passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly.

State Senator Pam Helming co-sponsored the bill.

Flooding continues for a second week along Lake Ontario and there’s no end in sight. Many residents and New York’s governor say the solution lies with a huge dam that straddles the U.S- Canada border. But the reality is not so simple.

Alex Crichton

"I've been a captain for 35 years and it's the highest I've ever seen it," said Warren Welch, who operates Reel Easy Sportfishing Charters in Rochester.

He says he's had to cancel 4 to 5 outings so far because of the conditions, and that's a significant loss of business for him.

"All the power has been shut off at the Yacht Club for the docks.  And at Shumway to the docks, all the power has been shut off.  And there's a lot of debris, obviously, out in the lake.  It's dangerous. There are logs and branches and submerged wood.  So it's pretty dangerous," he said.

Veronica Volk/Great Lakes Today / WXXI News

The NYS Department of Financial Services will be providing assistance to Town of Greece homeowners who have insurance questions after the recent lakeshore flooding.

Town Supervisor Bill Reilich says an RV from the state will be at Greece Town Hall on Wednesday with trained professionals who will help residents navigate through insurance concerns.


A flood warning that had been in effect for some counties along the southern shore of Lake Ontario were dropped as of early Monday morning.

There is still a lakeshore flood warning for parts of Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego Counties until 11pm on Monday.

There was a flood warning for Irondequoit Creek, which expired Sunday night. Ellison Park, one of the usual spots for spring flooding was impacted (the dog park was closed Sunday).

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The sandbags keep coming as a constant stream of cars lined up to collect them in Greece to combat rising water levels on Lake Ontario's shoreline and area ponds.

Julie DeMunck is a Greece resident who lives on Long Pond.

"We're not in as bad shape as some people, but we're lower on the pond. So its all coming up and taking the front of our property away and washing out underneath."

DeMunck says its been a family effort trying keep her house safe.