Updated Tuesday, May 23, at 9 a.m.
New York State is offering millions of dollars in flood aid along the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said $10 million will be available to localities that need help to repair roads, sewers, flood walls and other infrastructure.
State Sen. Robert Ortt, whose district includes the shorelines of Niagara and Orleans Counties, welcomed the governor's announcement and said lawmakers were set to act this week on a bill providing help to private property owners.
"This bill would set aside relief funding for private property owners, small businesses, farms as well as not-for-profits who are impacted by these lake levels, who suffered damage and who otherwise are not covered under FEMA, state emergency relief funding or their insurance," Ortt told WBFO.
The new Great Lakes Flood Recovery Grant Program would make $55 million available to those affected by flooding along Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River.
The grant program would provide up to $20 million administered through the state’s Empire State Development Corporation to help with physical flood-related damage.
Grants would provide up to $15,500 for owners of residences, $30,000 for owners of multiple dwellings, $50,000 for small businesses and farms, and $100,000 for not-for-profit corporations for damage not covered under insurance or an existing local, state, or federal program.
Municipalities and special districts would be eligible for a total of $20 million in grants -- up to $1 million each -- for infrastructure costs not already covered under existing programs. Counties would be eligible for a total of $5 million in new grants for flood mitigation or flood control projects.
Although heavy rains have passed, Ortt says winds continue to stir up waves in spots. He told WBFO there are many areas of concern in his district, with more serious problems in Orleans County and to the east.
Ortt expects the negative economic impact to be felt for some time. He pointed to the example of Olcott Beach, and the recent decision by operators to cancel swimming for the entire season due to flood damage.
"The problem is without the beach being opened, a lot of recreational fishing and recreational draw that the beach is, to the Town of Olcott and to that part of Niagara County, those shops and those restaurants are probably going to see a decline," he said.
Meanwhile, Montreal and Ottawa are also providing financial advice for residents affected by the flooding. Cleanup efforts continue in those cities, with extra trash removal schedules and special sandbag collections.
Wednesday, May 17
Finally, some good news for towns that been flooded for weeks by high waters in Lake Ontario.
The lake-wide average water level has remained at 75.85 m for two days in a row, says the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which controls a huge dam downstream.
Here's the bi-national board's assessment: "Does this mean we've reached its peak? Likely not, but we appear to be close now. If no significant rainfall is received, it now appears that it may rise perhaps another centimetre or two, but should then start to soon decline slowly."
The board cautioned that lake levels will remain high for weeks: "It's very important to note that another big rainfall could bring an even higher peak in days or even weeks to come. But the good news is that it appears to be close to its initial peak."
So far, the weather is cooperating. The region may see some thunderstorms Wednesday and Sunday, the National Weather Service says. But there's no sign of the heavy, extended rains that swelled the lake in April and early May.
As the region continues to deal with flooding, one community on the lake's southern shore is calling for legal action.
Officials in hard-hit Sodus Point want to halt a new bi-national lake management plan, saying it has harmed residents and businesses, the Finger Lakes Times reported.
Monday night, the village board asked Wayne County to seek an injunction against Plan 2014, which many residents and officials blame for the flooding. A board resolution called for “an injunction against the continued implementation of Plan 2014” and that the International Joint Commission revert to the previous lake management plan.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the flooding has been caused by heavy spring rains. The IJC, a bi-national organization, says the plan that took effect in January may have added only an inch or two to the lake level.
Tuesday, May 16
A huge hydroelectric dam that regulates the level of Lake Ontario continues to increase outflows.
But officials don't expect the lake to drop below flood levels for some time.