Water Levels Will Continue To Rise On Lake & River

Water Levels Will Continue To Rise On Lake & River

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It's not the news people on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River want to hear: the water levels will continue to rise.

The International Joint Commission, which regulates water levels on the lake and river, said Friday it will cut back on the amount of water it releases from the Moses-Saunders Power Dam in Massena.

The IJC says it's dealing with extreme conditions to the northeast and the southwest.

To the northeast, there's record-breaking Ottawa River flows which have resulted in severe flooding along both the Ottawa and lower St. Lawrence River. 

To the southwest, Lake Erie water levels have been above seasonal records since the end of April and exceeded historic record highs at the start of May. 

Record inflows from Lake Erie combined with the reduced outflows have caused Lake Ontario levels to rise rapidly over the past several weeks.

The IJC says Lake Ontario water levels remain below the record highs of 2017 currently.

Lake Ontario is roughly 2 feet above average for this time of year and sits roughly 8 inches below the records set in 2017.

The IJC expects to reduce outflows of water over the next few days and increase outflows as soon as conditions allow. 

Uncontrolled inflows from Lake Erie through the Niagara River and precipitation continue to be the main driver of water levels, the IJC said.

The IJC said its board is "constantly monitoring the situation and making use of every opportunity to adjust outflows, with the intent to balance high water levels in the interests of all stakeholders, and to regulate Lake Ontario outflows to provide all possible relief to shoreline property owners and communities both upstream and downstream of the Moses-Saunders Power Dam."

So as we sit in the middle, not draining as much of the river on one end, and not shutting off the faucet on the other end, communities are trying to get ahead of what they fear is coming - even higher levels.

Downtown Clayton was clogged with heavy equipment Friday delivering the community's best bet of staying dry. Hundreds of sandbags to be placed along the St. Lawrence River shore with help of the village's Department of Public Works crews and members of the New York State National Guard.

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