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Why are we seeing a rise in lake levels?

April 30, 2019 06:08 PM

(WHEC) -- In the spring of 2017, we saw severe flooding along the Lake Ontario shoreline due to high water levels. According to the latest update from the U.S. Army Core of Engineers, this spring water levels could be nearing those limits.

Naturally, the question is why?

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Typically when you think of flooding, you may think of a flash flood which is typically a result of heavy rainfall. 

However, in Rochester, we are receiving a mix of rain and snow melt which is also occurring upstream in Montreal.

Video out of Quebec, Canada, shows some of the extent of the flooding there. Thousands have been evacuated as water levels rise specifically around Montreal, the confluence of the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence River.

With river levels already resulting in flooding in that area and still expected to peak through May 1, outflow out of Lake Ontario has been shut off to help mitigate the flood threat into Montreal. This, of course, is backing water levels up for us here in through Lake Ontario. 

Right now, we are about a foot above average and expected to continue to climb an additional foot through May but the good news is that based on the data we have seen thus far, we will not top what we saw in 2017. 

Still, there are a lot of factors that could impact the forecast.

Will outflow from Lake Ontario increase?

Will inflow from other lakes remain the same?

Will we get any strong northerly winds to tip the bucket, if you will along the southern shore of the lake?

At this time, nothing like that is in the forecast but if that happens, of course, we will let you know first here on News10NBC. 

For more weather updates follow News10NBC's First Alert Weather and download the WHEC Weather app.

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