Storms cause damage in Jamestown, more Lake Ontario flooding possible as record height hit

Jun 2, 2019

Heavy rains, thunderstorms and strong winds swept through Western New York early Saturday evening.

Credit Courtesy of National Weather Service Buffalo

Hardest hit was the Southern Tier. There were reports of downed tree limbs and power outages in Jamestown. Some flooding of underpasses was also reported as well as large hail.

The rain is forecast to move out of our area Sunday. But temperatures will be unseasonably cool with highs Monday only in the upper 50s.

Also, the National Weather Service has posted a lakeshore flood warning along the Lake Ontario shoreline in Niagara and Orleans Counties from 6:00 this evening through 8:00 Tuesday morning.

Lake water levels are at record highs. On Saturday, the lake went just above levels recorded in 2017, when major flooding affected communities along its shore and the St. Lawrence River.

And the lake is expected to keep rising in the coming days.

An aqua dam in place near Olcott, NY, to help prevent flooding from Lake Ontario, which has now exceeded its record high recorded in 2017.
Credit Office of the Governor

Keith Koralewski, with the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, said, “We are looking at under average conditions, that the lake could possibly be about an inch and a half to two inches higher overall than 2017.”

He says that peak could be reached within the next two weeks, because Lake Ontario is still receiving too much water from Lake Erie. 

“All the great lakes have been experiencing a very wet weather pattern," Koralewskisaid, "and all are at record or near record highs at this time of year.”

But it’s not all bad news. 

The board has increased outflows at Moses Saunders Dam near Massena to their highest levels this year. 

Koralewski says that’s because the Ottawa River flows have gone down recently, easing flooding conditions near Montreal. That is allowing them to let more water flow downstream the St. Lawrence River.