Lake Ontario water levels below record highs but County still taking flood precautions

HIGH BUT NOT HIGHER- Water levels in Lake Ontario are well above average but the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board are claiming that water levels will not exceed high water marks set in 2019. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

 

DESIRÉE DECOSTE

STAFF WRITER

Finally, some potential good news for beleaguered shoreline owners in Prince Edward County.

While water levels on Lake Ontario are still well above average for this time of year, they  remain well below the record-high levels of 2019 and are likely to remain low during the spring, according to estimates from the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board.

According to the River Board’s update posted last week, water levels remain high across the Great Lakes basin.

“The four upper Great Lakes are near- or above record-high levels, while Lake Ontario is still well above average, but also well below record levels,” the update states. “Lake Ontario is now likely to remain below record-highs through the spring.  This is largely due to favorable weather conditions, but also demonstrates the effectiveness of water regulation to help the system recover after the recent record-high water events.  A mild winter and early spring, along with only moderately wet conditions so far this year, have resulted in less water flowing into Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River when compared to 2017 and 2019, and has allowed the release of outflows near or above record-rates over the past several months. Following record-outflows in winter, this spring the Ottawa River freshet has evolved in a manner that allows the Board to continue to release high outflows, as it follow its strategy to maximize outflows to lower the water level of Lake Ontario.”

Lake Ontario’s level was 75.35 m (247.21 ft) as of April 22 which  is 40 cm (15.7 in) above average. Also, the April 22 level is 34 cm (13.4 in) below the record-high for this time of year in 1973, 11 cm (4.3 in) below the water level on the same date in 2017, and 13 cm (5.1 in.) above the level on the same date in 2019.

Despite the promising forecast, the County of Prince Edward is still taking action as an emergency contingency should anyone find themselves with high water levels.

A total of 12 self-serve sandbagging depots across the municipality are being monitored to keep them well stocked with sand and sandbags. 

The municipality is also undertaking work to protect key roads where access is threatened during high water levels.

To see the latest update provided by the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board please visit https://ijc.org/en/loslrb/lake-ontario-st-lawrence-river-system-comparison-update-and-outlook

To see a list of all sandbagging locations and the County’s flood preparedness plans or tips to prepare for high water levels please visit http://www.thecounty.ca/county-government/emergency-services/flood-watch/