April Through July Was Wettest On Record For North Country

April Through July Was Wettest On Record For North Country

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A beautiful day like Monday in Alexandria Bay may feel rare this summer  given how much rain and flooding there has been along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. That has some people worried about a poor tourism season.

"A lot of summer residents didn't bother to come up to open up their cottage or put their boats in. Our sales tax was down this quarter, so it's going to affect us this winter," said Dale Hunneyman, Alexandria town supervisor.

A big factor in the shoreline flooding was record rainfall in places like Watertown, Massena and Lowville from April through July.

The Northeast Regional Climate Center says each location had more than 20 inches of rain in the four-month span. Those records date back to 1949 in Watertown and Massena and 1892 for Lowville.

Here are the exact numbers:

  • Watertown Airport - 20.65 inches (previous record was 17.36 inches in 2000)
  • Massena Airport - 20.44 inches (previous record was 19.02 inches in 1993)
  • Lowville - 23.45 inches (previous record was 21.71 inches in 1947)

"So we had a wet spring, we had a wet June, we had a wet July. Obviously that precipitation has to go somewhere," said Samantha Borisoff, climatologist at the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Researchers studying the Great Lakes and the seaway say high rain totals in areas draining water into Lake Ontario and outflow from Lake Erie made shoreline flooding worse.

"It's a lot more than just what's happening in terms of inputs to the system along the shoreline of Lake Ontario, but the water came from a much larger area than just that area that was impacted alone," said Drew Gronewold, research scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

There are meetings this week to help property owners affected by the shoreline flooding get state aid.

There's a meeting going on now at the Alexandria town offices and at the Sackets Harbor village offices Wednesday evening at 6.

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