Governor Cuomo has directed state agencies to assist local communities in Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, and Wayne counties for possible flooding issues due to rising water levels on Lake Ontario and is urging all residents in the region to prepare for flooding.
At Cuomo's direction, sandbags have already been deployed to the region and have been filled to be ready for placement in lower elevation areas.
In some areas, sandbags have been pre-positioned in locations that have previously experienced flooding in the past few days and weeks. Other state assets have been staged at the regional stockpile in Monroe County.
Currently, there have been no reported significant issues in the region, however out of an abundance of caution, Cuomo says communities are preparing for additional lake rises.
"After significant rain and runoff, we are seeing the waters on Lake Ontario rise to higher than normal levels," Cuomo said in a statement released on Sunday.. "While there is no current danger to residents in the surrounding areas, I am directing state agencies to assist our local officials and for those who live in the area to prepare for potential flooding and stay tuned to local weather forecasts."
Lake Ontario is currently 18 inches above average for this time of year according to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and expectations are that the level will continue to rise into May
The Army Corps of Engineers attributed the high water levels to higher-than-usual rates of precipitation and runoff. About 40 percent of the lake water comes from local runoff and precipitation, with the remainder flowing in through the Niagara River. To offset the rising levels, the Corps has increased outflow at the Moses-Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River between Massena and Cornwall, Ontario, throughout the past week.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has deployed one sandbag filler and 60,000 sandbags to Niagara County, 30,000 sandbags to Orleans County, one sandbag filler to Monroe County, one sandbag filler and 30,000 sandbags to Wayne County, 13,000 sandbags to the Town of Huron (Wayne), and 12,000 sandbags to the Town of Wolcott (Wayne).
Additionally, two high axle vehicles have been pre-positioned at the Chili Stockpile along with two Zodiac boats, and two additional sandbag fillers which have been moved from the Montgomery and Binghamton stockpiles. The stockpile in Chili is also fully stocked with generators, light towers, and barriers, for use throughout the potentially impacted areas.
All State Police assets, including 4x4s, high axle vehicles and boats are ready for deployment as needed.
Cuomo says that DOT crews have been actively working to clear culverts and drainage basins to help ensure they flow freely.
Cuomo urged boaters on Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River to be aware of floating debris such as logs and other items that can be encountered during spring run-off conditions and high water.