NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Many Niagara County residents living along the shore of Lake Ontario have already seen their property damaged by rising lake levels and flooding.
Some homeowners have already lost 15 to 20 feet of property, and their homes could now be at risk.
A lakeshore flood warning is in effect from 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to 11 a.m. Wednesday for Niagara and Orleans counties. A combination of very high lake levels and brisk Northeast winds will locally increase lake levels along the south shore of Lake Ontario, with wave action possibly increasing shoreline flooding and erosion.
People in Wilson have been dealing with high tides and swells near Wilson Boat Harbor. First responders are staying on standby 24 hours a day so they be prepared to help those in need.
Chief Aaron Walker, fire chief of Wilson Fire Company #1, said that the department is working to help residents whose homes are surrounded by water.
“We sandbag them two or three times, we’ve pumped out their yards, trying to keep the water out,” Walker said. “But it’s getting bad- we’re probably going to have to evacuate sooner or later.”
The lake is currently 33 inches higher than the average water level for this time of year and four inches higher than the all-time high.
Water levels are not expected to go down until the middle or end of June.
Several Niagara County residents are waiting on federal assistance to help with their homes.
Niagara County officials held a press conference about their plan for how to deal with flooding and erosion Tuesday morning. The county is utilizing county-owned heavy equipment and long-reach excavators with 40- and 60- foot arms, which have been contracted through the NYS Canal Corp., to build submarine breakwaters to weaken waves before they roll on shore and erode land.