NYS on Lake Ontario level: 'Please be prepared'

May 08, 2019 10:04 PM

GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Lake Ontario is already at flood level. 

If we get more rain, and it is in the forecast for Thursday, the state is concerned the flooding is next. 


On Wednesday, the head of New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness showed News10NBC what it's doing to be ready. 

The state says it has filled almost a quarter of a million sandbags. Half of them are for the people on the lakeshore in the Rochester area. 

When News10NBC was at the state transportation outpost in Greece, a flatbed from Irondequoit pulled in. State workers lifted pallets of sandbags filled by state prison inmates from Groveland Correctional Facility. 

The sandbags are going back to lakeshore towns for homeowners to use. 
Michael Kopy, NYS director of emergency management: "The water will rise and it's better to be prepared now and deal with it prior to the water rising than when the flood hits."

Kopy is the state director of emergecy management. 

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "What did you learn from 2017 that you're going to be able to use now?"

Kopy: "Clearly preparedness. While we dealt with very effectively in 2017, this time we started three weeks ahead of time filling sandbags, meeting with community leaders in all the communities that border Lake Ontario."

"If I'm walking too fast you just let me know," Bill Robertson said as we walked in his backyard towards Cranberry Pond in Greece.

Robertson already has a wall of sandbags on his shoreline. When the water in Lake Ontario rises it goes up in the ponds too. 

In 2017, Robertson says the water got up to his house. He's lived here since the 1980s but this is the first time he's put sandbags down. 

Bill Robertson, Cranberry Pond, Greece: "I just hope it doesn't come up over the sandbags because that means I have to get some more."

After the flooding of 2017, the governor's office says the state identified $30 million in uninsured critical infrastructure projects. It's trying to get re-imbursed by FEMA. 

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo inspected the water levels in Lake Ontario by boat. 

His office says last year's state budget included $95 million to help homes and businesses. 

Kopy: "So the key is being prepared and ready to go."

If there is flooding, Kopy says his employees from emergency management will be on site as it's happening to assess the damage and that could start the process of people getting help. 


Berkeley Brean

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