Lake Ontario water levels expected to rise, outflows increased

Lake Ontario water levels expected to rise, outflows increased
Dams in Massena (Source: WWNY)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The group in charge of regulating water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River plans to keep pushing large amounts of water out of Lake Ontario through the spring.

The International Lake Ontario–St. Lawrence River Board said it expects Lake Ontario to rise through spring and is proactively increasing outflows.

The board also said beginning April 1, following the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, "outflows will be increased as quickly and as much as possible above the Plan 2014 usual safe navigation limit."

The board said the strategy is designed to ensure that the maximum release of water is maintained while allowing for safe navigation to continue.

According to the board, other considerations may take precedence and limit outflows, including Ottawa River flows and water levels in the lower St. Lawrence River.

Lake Ontario’s seasonal rise has begun and will generally continue in the coming weeks, the board said. It added that residents and communities along Lake Ontario should remain vigilant and continue to make preparations for potential impacts of high water this spring, as the risk remains elevated, particularly during periods of strong winds and waves.

The board said there remains considerable long-term uncertainty for peak levels that will be reached this season, both upstream on Lake Ontario and downstream in the lower St. Lawrence River. Water levels will largely be determined by precipitation, inflows from Lake Erie and from the Ottawa River system over the next several weeks.

The board said residents along the St. Lawrence River should be aware that water levels could fluctuate significantly during this time. Residents and property owners along Lake St. Louis near Montreal and the lower St. Lawrence River should be aware that water levels will continue to be kept very high and that low lying areas may see minor impacts, the board said.

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.