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Lake Ontario

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Business along the lake shore are trying to get the word out that they are open for business, despite high water levels.

Allison Mayer is the manager of Mayer's Marina. The business is on Lake Road in Webster, right between the Irondequiot Bay and Lake Ontario. She says they took a hit in the 2017 floods, but also that they were better prepared when the water started to rise this year.

Dave Seeley, Irondequoit Town Supervisor

As the level of Lake Ontario continues to rise, it is making for some tense times for both residents and local officials.

Irondequoit Supervisor Dave Seeley says as a town official, he’s very concerned, and he can only imagine how people affected by the rising water are feeling.

Seeley says areas along Irondequoit Bay have already seen some high water, and that’s where members of the New York National Guard and the town’s department of public works have been able to help out, by finding ways to place sandbags in some of those areas.

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Governor Cuomo says that the lake is at flood level now, and what officials are worried about most is the weather, both the possibility of any more rain, and the winds, which depending on the direction, could cause waves that create more flooding.

The governor is worried about a repeat of the damage we saw in 2017, and he says with increasing frequency of this kind of problem, there needs to be a hard look at what kind of building or rebuilding along the lake front might be done after damage caused by any future shoreline flooding.

Office of NY Gov. Cuomo

OLCOTT, N.Y. (AP & WXXI News)  New York officials have declared a state of emergency for the counties along Lake Ontario as water levels continue to rise. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday directed state agencies to assist local governments and residents in responding to potential flooding in the coming days and weeks. Rising lake waters caused extensive damage in 2017, and work crews are fortifying flood-prone areas with barriers to avoid a repeat. 

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

The National Weather Service has issued a Lakeshore Flood Warning for parts of Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego counties from 5:00 p.m. on Monday until 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

The weather service says that the combination of very high lake levels and moderate westerly winds will result in greater wave action and an increase in lakeshore flooding potential on the eastern portion of Lake Ontario. Winds are forecasted to be in the range of 14 to 22mph, with gusts over 30mph possible.

International Joint Commission

The International Joint Commission, the joint U.S.-Canadian body that helps determine regulatory decisions about the Great Lakes, has a quorum again. That’s something the agency has not had due to vacancies since late last year.

Senator Chuck Schumer says that the U.S. Senate has voted to confirm three new members of the International Joint Commission. That is the joint U.S.- Canadian regulating body that can have some impact on Lake Ontario levels.

Schumer, a New York Democrat and the Senate Minority Leader, says that the Senate has confirmed former Republican Assembly member Jane Corwin, who will be the U.S. chairwoman of the IJC, as well as nominees Robert Sisson and Lance Yohe.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

This remains an anxious time for people who live near the Lake Ontario shoreline. There will be a lot of watchful eyes on water levels in the coming weeks.

While there hasn’t been any widespread flooding yet, like residents saw two years ago, the level of Lake Ontario has been rising, due to a number of factors.

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The threat of high water along the Lake Ontario shoreline is often felt first in low-lying places like Sodus Point.

Village Mayor Dave McDowell says that right now, Sodus Point is about as prepared as it can be.

“We have 40,000 sandbags, give or take, deployed around the low spots of the village, they’re holding; we’ve got National Guard back shoring up a couple of spots on the south side with this heavy south wind, but our streets are all dry, the businesses are all open and thriving,” McDowell said.

NYS Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

New York state officials have been touring the Lake Ontario shoreline this week, surveying the potential for any serious flooding problems that may occur due to high water levels.

The NYS Commissioner of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Patrick Murphy, says that right now, the Lake Ontario level is about 6 to 7 inches below the level in 2017 when there was widespread flooding, but he says the lake level is predicted to rise.

In the meantime, he suggests lakeshore residents make some preparations, including using sandbags where appropriate.

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