Erosion Alarms Lake Ontario Property Owners

Erosion Alarms Lake Ontario Property Owners

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Day by day, even hour by hour, Larry Les Chander can see the change at his Lake Ontario property in the town of Ellisburg.

"Last night, we had about 20 mile an hour winds out of the northwest and I lost about 10 feet of beach in that one overnight period. Yesterday, the water would have been about 10 feet out from where it is today. So this all happened overnight," he said.

Record high water levels on Lake Ontario are wearing away the beachfront.

In front of Donna Page's home in the town of Ellisburg, it's hard to tell a real beach was ever there.

"We have a lot of erosion. We've lost probably at least 100 feet of shoreline," she said.

And as the beach wears away, so do the fragile sand dunes along a four mile stretch of shoreline.

"There's a crack and that crack is probably going to wear away, probably within an hour. And that's going to knock down the dune that we have in front of our house," said Page.

The dunes serve as a barrier between the waves and many shoreline properties.

Nature builds them up over decades. Now they're being lost in a matter of weeks. How much closer will the water come? Well, some property owners have sandbags in place.

So the question is, how much more beach, how much more of the dunes will be lost? Well that's up to the wind and the waves.

"We're losing five to ten feet of beach every windy day. I'd like to think the worst is behind us but i think the worst is still ahead of us," said Les Chander.

If your property has been damaged by flooding on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the state is offering help with insurance claims.

Mobile command centers will be deployed to Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties this week.

The Department of Financial Services will set up the following local centers:

Jefferson County
Tuesday, May 16  
10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Town of Lyme
Chaumont Volunteer Fire Department
11385 NY Route-12E

St. Lawrence County
Wednesday May 17
10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
City of Ogdensburg
100 Riverside Ave (The Dobisky Center)

If you're unable to visit the command centers, you can call the department's Disaster Hotline at 1-800-339-1759, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m. for help with insurance-related issues.

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