High Lake Ontario levels came with little warning

Jun 4, 2017

The high water levels on Lake Ontario this spring came with little warning. Experts with the US Army Corps of Engineers say the substantial precipitation this spring is largely responsible for the quick rise.

Sandbags to prevent flooding in Olcott
Credit WBFO News File Photo

The high water levels have caused plenty of shoreline flooding and erosion along the lake in Niagara and Orleans Counties.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has criticized federal officials for not doing more to reduce lake levels. But in an interview on the Capitol Pressroom on WBFO, Frank Bevacqua of the International Joint Commission said that's easier said than done.

"There's this belief that you can control the levels of the lake within a narrow range," Bevacqua said. "But with 60 years of experience and extensive study, it's clear that's not the case."

Lake Ontario water levels are nearly three feet higher than average.

The last time they were this high back in 1973, the rise was gradual over several years, giving communities along the shoreline more time to prepare.