Flooding along Lake Ontario has prompted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in all eight of the counties that border the state's 326-mile lake shoreline.
The declaration for Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne counties calls for a no-wake zone within 1,000 feet of shore, which limits the speed of boats to 5 mph. Typically, the no-wake zone is within 100 feet of shore. The extra distance will help protect homes and municipal infrastructure and the shoreline from further erosion.
The emergency declaration makes it easier for shoreline property owners to make necessary repairs and stabilize their properties from flood damage.
In addition to the declaration, Cuomo activated 200 members of New York National Guard and placed another 200 on standby.
Preparing for a "worst-case scenario," Cuomo deployed 20 sandbaggers, more than 1 million sandbags, hundreds of pumps and more than 5,000 feet of Aquadam, which are water-filled tubes used to create barriers and control water to prevent flooding.
Cuomo noted in a Monday press conference that the flooding could equal or surpass record flooding in 2017, when water levels rose to 248.95 feet, roughly 17 inches higher than average for that time of year. On Friday, the water level rose to 248.39 feet, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"We are preparing now for the reoccurrence of the 2017 flooding situation, which as people remember was devastating and caused a lot of damage and a lot of hardship for thousands of New Yorkers," Cuomo said.
High water levels from above-average precipitation and snowmelt coupled with high winds are triggering the flooding.
The National Weather Service issued a lake shore flood warning Monday for high winds that could push water ashore in Cayuga, Jefferson, Oswego and Wayne counties. It remains in effect until 11 a.m. Tuesday.
The flooding is exacerbated by record levels of water from Lake Erie flowing unregulated into Lake Ontario via the Niagara River. In an effort to alleviate some of the flooding along Lake Ontario's shoreline, authorities slightly increased outflows Monday from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River via the Moses Saunders Dam, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned people living along Lake Ontario in upstate New York to prepare for flooding, while wading into an international debate over how lake levels are managed.
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, on Monday declared a state of emergency for eight counties and put the National Guard on standby. The lake is approaching a record high set in 2017, and the governor said waves could lead to flooding and damage in the same places that suffered two years ago.