WXXI AM News

Lake Ontario flood

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

With concerns about rising levels on Lake Ontario, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that he has directed state agencies to begin deploying resources to protect communities along the lakeshore.

He notes that following severe flooding in Canada, the International Joint Commission has continued to reduce outflows of water from the Moses-Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River in an effort to minimize impacts, and the lake's water level currently sits at more than one foot above average.

International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board/Facebook

People who live along the Lake Ontario shoreline in the Rochester area are nervously watching lake levels.

The level of Lake Ontario currently is about a foot above its long term historic average, and while high, it’s not all that unusual.

That’s according to Bryce Carmichael, he is the U.S. Secretary of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board which helps manage lake levels.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

In a changing climate, people living on Lake Ontario may be more at risk for flooding and extreme weather, so what compels them to stay?

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

A board that helps oversee the level of Lake Ontario says that while water levels across the lake and the St. Lawrence River have begun their typical spring rise, conditions are a lot better than they were a year ago. There were months of very high lake levels and shoreline damage in 2017.

Tom Brown is a member of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.  He says Lake Ontario is about 16 inches lower than it was at this time last year, although the lake level is about 8 inches higher than its long term average.

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.

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