Water outflows at ‘unprecedented’ rates, regulators say

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020 at 11:24 AM EST
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MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - Despite outflows that water-level regulators call unprecedented, it might not make a lot of difference on Lake Ontario.

Members of the International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board say mild temperatures and little ice formation have allowed them to release water from dams in Massena at rates as high as 377,900 cubic feet per second.

They say that's the highest-ever rate they've released water during winter.

They also say they might not be able to do it for much longer, once temperatures drop and ice starts to form on the St. Lawrence River.

And, they say, "even with unprecedented outflows from Lake Ontario, the relative impact on the lake level will be small."

They say that's because of the amount of water flowing into Lake Ontario from Lake Erie and any precipitation that falls across the Lake Ontario basin.

But board members say they'll continue to set outflows as high as they can based on conditions across the region.

Other factors include making sure the Moses-Saunders Dam continues to generate power safely, high water levels downriver, low water levels upriver, wind-driven water level changes.

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