Lakeshore communities continue prep for flooding

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 May 2019 at 2:51 pm

Photo from Governor’s Office: Gov. Andrew Cuomo looks at a AquaDam in Irondequoit on Saturday. Some spots in Carlton and Kendall are being considered for the AquaDams, which are pumped with lake water and then released back into the lake when the water levels go down.

Lake Ontario southshore communities continue with their flood preparations as Lake Ontario steadily rises.

In Orleans County, the towns of Carlton, Yates and Kendall all have requested 50 pallets of sandbags which should be delivered to the those highway departments later this week, said Dale Banker, the county’s director of Emergency Management.

State and federal officials are also looking at spots in Carlton and Kendall for AquaDams, which are large inner tubes filled with lake water.

In Orleans County, there is a sandbagging operation at the state Department of Transportation in Albion with inmates from the Orleans Correctional Facility filling the sandbags.

Banker said the sandbags haven’t been requested yet by many residents, but the towns, county and state are working to have a supply of sandbags ready. Once the sandbags are filled and the pallets ready, the Orleans County Highway Department will take them to the highway departments in Yates, Carlton and Kendall.

Banker said another sandbagging machine is available with 25,000 sandbags to be filled if there is a demand.

Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence) was at Oak Orchard Harbor this morning with Orleans and Niagara officials to discuss water levels that Collins said are increasing at a rate of ½ inch per day on average. Collins has urged the International Joint Commission to scrap Plan 2014 for regulating the water levels.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Irondequoit on Saturday to highlight the state’s efforts to deploy sandbags, AquaDams, pumps and other resources to lakeshore communities. The state by the end of Saturday put out 750,000 empty sandbags, nearly 47,000 filled sandbags, 14 sandbaggers, hundreds of pumps and 670 feet of AquaDam throughout the eight counties lining the shores of the lake.

“Our immediate concern is the emergency preparation in case of flooding, which has the potential to impact the entire northern coast of the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are working with local communities to protect the shoreline including fortifying it with sand bags and an emergency AquaDam, and we are deploying 100 members of the National Guard.”

If the federal government passes a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, Cuomo said some of those funds should go to protecting the shoreline. He also said the IJC needs to do a better job of managing the lake water levels.

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