Lake Ontario

Caitlin Whyte

The grey sky seems a bit more ominous out here.

With the winds whipping around and waves crashing on the break wall, Douglas Dobson walks around his home. His neighborhood sits on a narrow strip of land, with Lake Ontario to the north and several ponds to the south. 


Angelica Morrison / Great Lakes Today

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.

Payne Horning

At a special state hearing in Oswego County Tuesday, government officials admitted that there is effectively no way to prevent Lake Ontario from once again reaching the record high levels seen this year. In fact, they said it is bound to happen again. However, they think there may be ways to reduce the amount of damage the flooding caused along the shoreline.

WBFO File Photo / WBFO News

Homeowners along the Lake Ontario shoreline whose property was damaged by floods this year have until Friday to apply for state-funded relief.

As a deadline approaches for Lake Ontario flood victims to seek state aid, there are indications that the money may be stretched thin.

At the eastern end of the lake, about $1 million already has been committed to 45 homeowners in a three-county area, WRVO reports. 

But more than 900 homeowners have applied for help in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, says Gary Beasley, who heads a nonprofit administering area flood grants.

A expedition team said today that sonar imagery had located a test model of the Avro Arrow, a Canadian fighter jet, on the floor of Lake Ontario.

Members of the team showed a video of wings, booster rockets and other pieces of a plane.

Authorities say one of three kayakers from Pennsylvania who went missing during an outing off Lake Ontario's New York shore near Niagara County has been found dead in the water. The other two made it to shore safely.

U.S. Coast Guard

Multiple state and federal agencies are assisting in the search for three kayakers who went missing while on Lake Ontario.

A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls 2016 the warmest year on record around the globe.  The surface temperature of the Great Lakes was also above average -- and that's not good news.


This spring's heavy rain in the Lake Ontario region had quite an impact on homeowners, but it also affected the water offshore. The rainfall overwhelmed sewage systems in cities around the lake, and pushed tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the water.


WBFO's Mike Desmond

Preservation of the environment dominated Tuesday's celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day at the Buffalo History Museum. It was a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

WRVO News

The government body that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario is reducing the outflows to the St. Lawrence River. The International Joint Commission says water levels have dropped rapidly, down 12 inches since the peak in late May. However, that is drawing some criticism from shoreline residents who say the move is premature.

Two replica Christopher Columbus ships are sailing across the Great Lakes this summer, offering visitors a chance to learn about the famous explorer's voyages. But some say the ships only tell half of a story.


For a lot of people and business around Lake Ontario, flooding put summer on hold. Now that the water is going down, businesses are coming back, including an amusement park on one of Toronto's harbor islands.


USGS, FEMA assessing Lake Ontario flooding impact

Jul 13, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientists are using drones, radar and water-pressure sensors to track the effects of flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline to help emergency managers track and respond to historic levels of flooding.

Upset by continued flooding on the Lake Ontario shoreline, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to shake up the bi-national group that helps to regulate the Great Lakes.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an emergency relief bill into effect that will aid communities that suffered flood damage as the result of high Lake Ontario waters. New York State is also pursuing additional help from the federal government.


Historically high water levels on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River are presenting the shipping industry with both challenges and opportunities. 


Flooding along Lake Ontario is still causing problems in Toronto, the biggest city in Canada, particularly for the picturesque harbor islands.


New York Congressmen who represent the southern shore of Lake Ontario say a U.S.-Canada regulatory body should pay for damages caused by weeks of flooding.

Rep. Chris Collins said the International Joint Commission's new management plan for the lake is "a disaster." Rep. John Katko said the plan has "wreaked havoc."

The war of words between N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the International Joint Commission is continuing,  as residents along Lake Ontario deal with weeks of flooding.

In a letter to Cuomo, the IJC says flooding was triggered by heavy spring rains. And it rejects his suggestion that preventive counter-measures -- like releasing more water through a downstream dam -- should have been made.

Great Lakes Today's Veronica Volk

Two area state lawmakers say they have reached agreement on bipartisan legislation to provide $90 million in financial relief for people living along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River seaway.

Governor Cuomo stopped in shoreline communities in Greece and Sodus Point to unveil some new technology designed to save homes and businesses from further damage from high water levels on Lake Ontario. 

Damage he says is due in part to a late response from the board that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, the International Joint Commission.

Cuomo says the state is testing two "Aqua Dams," water filled synthetic device that, when it works, acts like a portable dam.

There will be more water flowing out of Lake Ontario in an effort to help ease the recent flooding conditions along the south shore.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board agreed this week to increase the water flowing out of the lake at a greater rate. Secretary for the board, Arun Heer says this will be the highest outflow ever released from the lake on a sustained basis.

Because of that, Heer says officials will closely monitor the situation for a few days to see if there are any major adverse impacts.

The US Army Corps of Engineers predicts that water across the Great Lakes will remain high for the duration of summer, and even into the fall.

The Corps says these high levels are due to above average precipitation on the lakes. Forecasted levels on Superior, Michigan-Huron, and Erie will be the highest since the 1990s.

Lake Ontario levels will also remain high, after setting a record for highest average lake levels for the month of May. 

Communities along Lake Ontario -- ranging from Toronto to tiny Sodus Point, N.Y. -- have seen flooding for weeks.

Online Screen Grab / WBFO News

The ongoing lake shore erosion in Youngstown is now threatening one of the buildings at Old Fort Niagara.

IJC to maintain Lake Ontario levels

Jun 9, 2017

The bi-national organization that regulates shared water between the United States and Canada has decided to maintain outflows from Lake Ontario, which are already near a record high, for at least another week.

WBFO News File Photo

The National Weather Service has issued a lakeshore flood watch for Niagara and Orleans counties.

WBFO News File Photo

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.

Kathleen Thomas

New York State is making $7 million available to help homeowners recover from flooding along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines.

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