Lake Ontario flooding declared a major disaster

Nov 14, 2017

Federal recovery aid will be coming to Lake Ontario shoreline communities after President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for spring and summer flooding.

The declaration issued Tuesday includes Niagara, Orleans, Wayne, Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. It omits two lakefront counties, Monroe and Cayuga, but says additional designations could be added later if warranted. 

New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have been pushing for all available federal flood recovery assistance since the flooding first began this spring.

“This is a massive and well-deserved shot in the arm for many lakefront counties that we fought long and hard to secure," said Schumer. "It will provide federal funds for many counties hit hard by the relentless lake flooding, but we will keep up the pressure until we secure the same support for both Monroe and Cayuga counties...so that all counties affected by Lake Ontario’s high waters get the funding they need and deserve to get back on their feet.”

Flooding in Olcott, NY
Credit Angelica Morrison / Great Lakes Today

“This Major Disaster Declaration for New York State is an important step to help the communities near Lake Ontario recover from the record flooding this past year,” said Gillibrand. “This designation unlocks important FEMA funding to repair damaged infrastructure and helps ensure that the Lake Ontario shoreline is better protected against future flooding."

A news release from the White House said federal funding will be available to the state and local governments and certain non-profit organizations for part of the cost of repairing facilities damaged by flooding.  

New York State has committed $45 million in assistance to property owners.  

Lake Ontario rose 30 inches from April through May, reaching a record high level. Wind-driven waves pounded the shoreline, causing widespread damage to infrastructure, homes and businesses.