Lake Ontario Continues to Rise; Officials Say it's an "Uphill Battle" to Keep Water at Bay

May 31, 2019

New York Army National Guardsmen deploy an AquaDam, a water-filled cofferdam, to control Lake Ontario’s high water levels at Sodus Point, N.Y., June 13, 2017.
Credit New York Army National Guard/Brig. Gen. Ray Shields

Lake Ontario water levels continue to rise almost a half inch per day, so the threat of continued and additional shoreline flooding is still very real.  Renee Fox with Oswego County Emergency Management says their priorities haven’t changed since the waters began rising…protecting lives, infrastructure, and property.

"Now that some of the residents who have summer homes are coming back to the area, we have seen a significant increase in sandbag requests over the last couple weeks."

She says they’ve distributed more than 58,000 sandbags so far, and deployed 750 feet of AquaDam to try and keep the water at bay.  But she says there’s only so much they can do.

"People are reporting a significant amount of shoreline erosion, which is concerning especially when they live very close to the lake.  At this point, we have received a report of only one residence that is not able to be lived in because of water in the residence."

Fox says most roads are open, but conditions change day to day.

"Some of the roads you see today covered in water, tomorrow on a sunny day might not be.  A significant factor in this is the wind, wind direction, and wave action."

Fox says they anticipate the water will continue to rise for at least the next two weeks.  On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo announced the formation of a Lake Ontario task force to develop a plan to harden waterfront infrastructure, and come up with a new vision to rebuild the shoreline and improve resiliency.