Lake Ontario flooding likely won’t come this year

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Pushing past Plan 2014 outflow limits partly credited with safe water level

IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WROC) — Lake Ontario likely will not produce the damaging waves and devastating floodwaters the southern shoreline experienced in 2017 and 2019, according to the body that monitors Lake Ontario’s water level.

The International Joint Commission said significant outflow throughout winter and spring has lowered Lake Ontario’s water level to a point that would make flooding in 2020 unexpected.

The IJC credits Mother Nature for moderate spring conditions and the decision by the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board to break with the rules set forth in the management plan Plan 2014 and increase outflow levels beyond the plan limits.

In 2017 and 2019 high outflows would have endangered areas downstream like Montreal, but the Ottawa River remained relatively low making it possible to safely send more water out of Lake Ontario.

There was also a delay in shipping along the St. Lawrence River which allowed for higher-than-normal outflows in March.

The success was achieved despite a tremendous amount of water coming in from the other Great Lakes, which all have seen exceptionally high water levels over the past several months.

The IJC is encouraging governments along the southern shoreline to take this time to invest in shoreline protection and action plans to combat future high – and low – water levels.

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