OSWEGO – Lake Ontario water levels continue to rise. And, with the possibility of more rain in the forecast, county residents brace for more flooding.
The Oswego County Emergency Management Office has been monitoring the situation since April. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday they send updates to the state.
Lake Erie levels continue to be at an all-time high, a member of the EMO reported at Thursday’s Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council meeting.
Right now, Lake Erie is 29 inches above average – three inches higher than the record high.
“We are getting all the water from the Great Lakes coming down into Lake Ontario,” the EMO spokesperson said. “And, we are essentially trying to drain that through a ‘straw,’ the St. Lawrence River.
A bit of good news is that the Lake Ontario level was the same on Wednesday as it was on Monday.
“We have not peaked yet. But, that was ‘good’ news,” she said “It at least showed a little bit of stabilization.”
Lake levels aren’t expected to peak until around June 17. It’s possible it will match or even surpass (by at least a few inches) the levels of 2017 when flooding devastated a large part of the lake’s shoreline communities and businesses.
So, what the area experienced in 2017 it is possible the area will be in a similar situation this year.
The high winds coming across the lake can create waves that are six feet high or higher; that causes a lot of problems along the shoreline.
Case in point Rudy’s where the monster waves have created a lengthy wall of rocks, more than three feet tall in places. Some of the iconic restaurant’s picnic tables have been buried by the rocks.
On May 14, the chairman of the Oswego County Legislature declared a state of emergency due to the high water levels and also declared a no wake zone within 1,000 feet of shore/
On May 20, the governor declared a state of emergency for all the counties along the lake’s shoreline.
Both are still in effect.
To date, about 45,000 sandbags have been deployed.
Requests for sandbags go through the Emergency Management office who then sends the request to the state to be filled.
As the local municipalities are trying to deal with their regular spring workload, the state is helping out with the transportation – delivery of the sandbags.
As many people will be returning to their summer camps over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, there may be a larger number of requests for sandbags soon.
“Back to normal” water levels likely won’t be seen until October or November.