It has been a soggy May across much of New York State. As a result, Lake Ontario water levels are near an all-time high. According to the International Joint Commission who oversees monitoring of the lake level, the level of Lake Ontario is predicted to surpass levels last seen in 2017. Currently Lake Ontario is tied for its monthly record high at 248.92 feet and is less than an inch away from the record height of 248.95 feet.
This level of water is concerning to the communities around the lake. Many towns have begun to prepare for significant flooding with sandbags. Wake warnings for boaters around the shoreline have also been put in place to avoid more water flowing onto shore. According to the Army Corps of Engineers weekly Great Lakes water level update, Lake Ontario has risen 21 inches since April. This is a vast difference compared to the other Great Lakes which have seen water rise by 5-8 inches. These water levels are from a combination of the wetter-than-average conditions in the region and the uncontrolled, record high inflows from Lake Erie. Forecasts predict that the water levels on Lake Ontario are expected to crest over the following weeks, approximately within an inch of the records seen in 2017.
Water levels on Lake Ontario are predicted to crest in the next few weeks. If the beginning of the summer months experiences above-average precipitation, similar to this past May, then water levels could rise higher. The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board are putting plans into action to provide relief for the communities along the lake that are taking the brunt of the damaging flooding.
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© 2019 Meteorologist Shannon Scully
Photo Credit: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Army Corp of Engineers
International Lake Ontario- St.Lawrence River Board
International Joint Comission
On February 17th, 2019, many regions along the Mississippi River rose above their flood stages. At this current time, many locations along the river are still above flood stage. Vicksburg, located in Warren County, Mississippi along with other regions near the Mississippi River, is experiencing the longest, above flood stage duration since the Great Flood of 1927. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, flood waters have risen and remained above the 35-foot flood stage level throughout the past few months. In Red River Landing, Louisiana, flood waters have also risen and remain above the 48-foot flood stage level. As of May 14th, 2019, over 260 river gauges throughout the Midwest have recorded river flooding levels above the flood stage, categorized as minor, moderate, and major flood statuses, as detailed in the diagram below.
Factors leading to this historic flooding event have been rapid melting of snow and intense rainfall in the Midwest regions. Because of this rapid snow melt and intense rainfall, runoff from these sources has absorbed into the soil so quickly that oversaturation has prevented normal seepage. The soil is then unable to dry out in time before another rainfall event occurs. Therefore, this runoff has nowhere else to go. The runoff flows downslope into the Mississippi River, filling and flooding the Mississippi. Hydrologists believe that flooding in this region of the Mississippi is caused in part due to sediments being deposited onto the floor of the riverbed. The buildup of these sediments has caused flood waters to rise higher than they would have in previous years. Since February 2019 to present day, various regions along the Mississippi River have remained well above the flood stage, making this the longest lasting flood in over 90 years.
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© 2019 Weather Forecaster Christina Talamo