ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Water levels in Lake Ontario keep rising.
The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board said on Monday that water levels have reached 248.85 feet, and will likely reach or exceed the 2017 record high of 248.95 feet within the next few days.
Forecasts show that Lake Ontario levels are expected to crest within the next one to three weeks, mostly within an inch or so of the record high, but officials say that potentially higher levels are possible should wet weather continue.
The board says that the main drivers for the high water continue to be the record high inflows from Lake Erie (which are not regulated), through the Niagara River, as well as above average rainfall.
The board can somewhat regulate the lake level through the Moses Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River, and officials say they have been increase those ‘outflows’ since May 16. They also say that outflow increases are expected to continue as frequently as conditions allow.
The amount of water that is released from Lake Ontario is balanced against any flooding issues that may occur downstream, toward the Montreal area. That region is affected by the amount of water coming out of the Ottawa River.
The National Weather Servicehas issued a Lakeshore Flood Warning from Tuesday morning through Tuesday afternoon for Monroe, Orleans and Niagara counties.The Weather Service says that the combination of very high lake levels and moderate east-northeast winds will result in greater wave action and an increase in lakeshore flooding on the western portion of Lake Ontario.