Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River levels still likely to rise

May 13, 2019

People along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River continue to be anxious as water laps up on docks and decks across the region. The weekend’s rain didn’t help the situation.

Bryce Carmichael with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the Lake is forecast to rise another seven inches over the next month.

High water at Robert Carlisle's riverfront property in Morristown.
Credit Emily Russell

"It’s really still too early to say when we’ll start seeing crests," Carmichael said. "The Ottawa River has also been seeing increased precipitation, and that flow out of the Ottawa River into the lower St. Lawrence River has impacted areas that have already seen lots of flooding."

In effect, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence are between a rock and a hard place. Upstream, Lake Erie is at historic highs, and that water can’t be held back. And downstream, the Ottawa River is already flooding. In other words, there’s nowhere for the water to go without causing damage.

New York State has deployed aqua dams and hundreds of thousands of sandbags to protect communities from Buffalo to Massena. So far, no major flooding has been reported. The Lake and River levels are still below the record-settings levels of 2017.