Lake Ontario

Jamie Henderson / Flickr

A year ago, Lake Ontario began an unprecedented climb that resulted in record water levels and catastrophic flooding for those on its shoreline. The lake's levels are currently 16 inches below where they were in May of 2017, but still eight inches above the long-term average.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

New York state lawmakers have included $40 million dollars in this year's budget to help property owners who are still cleaning up from last year's flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. 

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Regulators are working hard to avoid a repeat of last year’s flooding on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board, which manages water levels, set a record last month for most water pushed downriver in any month since the dam was built in the 1950s. As a result, Lake Ontario levels are below where they were at the same time in 2017. 

Rep. John Katko / Facebook File Photo

Water levels in the Great Lakes basin are once again higher than normal, similar to what happened last year ahead of the historic flooding that occurred along Lake Ontario's southern shore. Federal and state officials are working to avoid a repeat, but some say it's not enough.

SUNY Oswego

For the first time in its history, SUNY Oswego will embark on a campus-wide initiative later this year. Students from multiple disciplines will collaborate to present solutions for a global issue.

With Lake Ontario as the backdrop, "fresh water for all" will be the focus of SUNY Oswego's first Grand Challenges project. Leigh Wilson, director of the college's interdisciplinary programs and activities center, says individual classes will be tasked with exploring fresh water issues and developing potential solutions to those problems that draws on their specific area of study.

Along Lake Ontario shoreline, high water and damage persist

Dec 2, 2017
Caitlyn Whyte / Great Lakes Today

As winter nears, Lake Ontario is still much higher than normal. And residents are shoring up walls of sandbags for protection against high waves.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

At the Novelis Aluminum plant in Oswego County, metal is processed for automotive companies like Ford, Toyota and General Motors. Novelis uses a lot of recycled metal, but most of its primary aluminum comes from Canada. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

The federal government is now offering funding and resources to upstate counties devastated by the flooding along Lake Ontario this year, after President Trump declared parts of the region a federal disaster area earlier this week.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

At a special state hearing in Oswego County Tuesday, government officials admitted that there's effectively no way to prevent Lake Ontario from once again reaching the record high levels seen this year. In fact, they said it's bound to happen again. But, they think there may be ways to reduce the amount of damage the flooding caused along the shoreline.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Homeowners who sustained damage from this year's flooding along Lake Ontario have until 5 p.m. Friday to apply for financial aid from the state. New York leaders appropriated millions of dollars this year to help residents recover from historically high water levels, but there may not be enough to go around.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

 

Hurricanes in the southern U.S. have captured the nation's attention, and the federal funding used to help communities recover. That's concerning some in New York, where state lawmakers are still seeking federal aid for the months-long flooding along Lake Ontario.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

For the second time this month, the International Joint Commission (IJC) has lowered water discharges from Lake Ontario. Starting at midnight Saturday, the outflows to the St. Lawrence River dropped only slightly from 9,910 cubic meters per second to 9,870 cms, which is less than 1 percent.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

This year's flooding along Lake Ontario has taken a toll on municipalities, exhausting their resources and threatening their infrastructure. That's the case in Oswego where the city recently took an inventory of the destruction caused by the unprecedented water levels.

ceedub13 / Flickr, Creative Commons

The government body that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario is reducing the outflows to the St. Lawrence River. The International Joint Commission (IJC) says water levels have dropped rapidly, down 12 inches since the peak in late May. That's drawing some criticism from shoreline residents who say the move is premature.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

State lawmakers say help is finally here for the property owners who have experienced damage from flooding along Lake Ontario this year. Community leaders are organizing residents as the state prepares to distribute the recovery funding.

Rep. John Katko / Facebook File Photo

Several New York representatives are joining the calls for the federal government to declare the flooding along Lake Ontario a disaster. The move would bring federal funding and assistance to the recovery process.

Constellation Energy Group

The historically high water levels in Lake Ontario this year have threatened homeowners, municipalities and nuclear power plants - almost triggering emergency action at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Facility in Oswego County.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

U.S. Geological Survey scientists are installing equipment along the shores of Lake Ontario to better monitor water levels and understand the impact from this year's flooding.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not signing a bill the New York State Legislature passed last week that would provide grants for flood victims along Lake Ontario. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

State lawmakers have passed legislation that could provide financial relief for those affected by Lake Ontario flooding. The new bill was approved after weeks of debate between the state Senate and Assembly over how much to spend and whom should be be eligible

WXXI News File Photo

It's another wet week in much of central and northern New York, offering no relief to those experiencing flooding along Lake Ontario and in the area.

The National Weather Service says rainfall in the region is several inches above average this year, for the month of May especially. Last month was the second-wettest May on record for the Watertown area and the third-wettest in the Syracuse area.

But National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Welch says that's not the main cause of the flooding many communities in the region are experiencing.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

As residents along Lake Ontario try to clean up from this year's flooding, state officials are warning about the health risks the situation poses. 

The Oswego County Health Department is offering resident's free Tdap -- or tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine -- shots for those affected by the flooding.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Spring flooding along Lake Ontario is damaging many homes along the shoreline, and it’s hurting people who have businesses there. Now, business owners say it will take a long time to recover -- even after the floodwaters go away.

Marge’s is a little bungalow bar in Rochester. Inside, there's a small wooden bar and a few games, but you don't go to Marge’s to stay inside.

Out back is a big stretch of beach looking out over Lake Ontario. There's a tiki hut and frozen drink machine, and live music on the weekends.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

State lawmakers are moving to provide grants to property owners affected by the flooding from Lake Ontario and this year's high rainfall, but they disagree about how to best address the situation.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Public beaches along the Lake Ontario shoreline are under water, which may put a damper on some summer plans.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Summer is approaching, but many of New York state's beaches along Lake Ontario are closed.

Cathy Goodnough

Lake Ontario is now 33 inches above its long-term average and it's not yet at its peak. That sustained flooding is threatening residents along the shorelines and scientists say it is also taking a toll on the environment.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Plan 2014 is unpopular with some residents of the southern shore of Lake Ontario, because it lets the water levels get higher, more frequently, and potentially for longer periods of time, which could cause damage to lakefront property owners.

So it makes sense that flooded homeowners like Tom Piekunka in Sodus Point are blaming the change in regulation for the change in their environment.

"This is what they want. They want the higher water. We're just collateral damage."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Water levels on Lake Ontario are still going up and still have not yet peaked, but property owners already have been assessing the damage. 

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Flooding continues along the Lake Ontario shoreline 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.

Tom Piekunka stands in an inch of water in his backyard in Sodus Point. Water from Lake Ontario is still on the rise, and it's creeping closer and closer to the bright yellow two-story cottage where his family has lived for generations.

"If this was just a house I wouldn't care," he says. "But, it's a home."

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