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Todd in NY

Could All This Snow Bring High Water Again?

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The IJC will blame the weather, such as more snow this winter compared to last winter, and more ice cover this winter.

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Lake Superior remains eight inches above average levels now. Last year at this time it was thirteen inches above average level. This is not really good news for Lake Ontario levels yet. 

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We are expecting a lot of snow melt and 1-2" of rain between now and Friday night. Flood watch in effect...

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looks like a repeat of last year , heavy wet snow storm state wide ( some places getting up 2 feet ) and up coming rains there going to be bad flooding.  

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Last year, the St. Lawrence farther down stream from Lake Ontario was extremely high. This caused the decision to limit the outflow from the lake in order to prevent flooding along the St. Lawrence. We do not have that situation this year and it is probably safe to expect a much higher outflow this year compared to last year.

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I went to the boat launch in Sacket's Harbor NY last week, and even though it was froze solid, the water level wasn't high. I know that doesn't mean anything this early in the year, but seeing the water, or ice level, makes me want to remain optimistic for now.

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Last year, the St. Lawrence farther down stream from Lake Ontario was extremely high. This caused the decision to limit the outflow from the lake in order to prevent flooding along the St. Lawrence. We do not have that situation this year and it is probably safe to expect a much higher outflow this year compared to last year.

That didn’t happen until the heavy rains came. The Ottawa River could be high again after run off and rain.


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Last year, the St. Lawrence farther down stream from Lake Ontario was extremely high. This caused the decision to limit the outflow from the lake in order to prevent flooding along the St. Lawrence. We do not have that situation this year and it is probably safe to expect a much higher outflow this year compared to last year.

That didn’t happen until the heavy rains came. The Ottawa River could be high again after run off and rain.


Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I live 22 miles from Superior. We’ve had hardly any snow this year. It’s usually as high as my back door at my house and it hasn’t been more than 12” this year. The extended below zero weather has prevented most of the lake effect snow from falling. We did have, however, a lot of rain all summer and fall. If it continues to rain this spring we could be in for additional lake level increases.


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Posted (edited)

Here's the latest...Dark Blue data set is 2018 data - Black data set is 2017 data

Oswego_Levels_030218.PNG

Edited by AnglingAddict

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Posted (edited)

seems to me the chart above is right on path of 2017 , i know it's above my pay grade but would think the smart powers to be can start  pulling extra water now . especially after last year cost and damage the flooding caused ..

Edited by fisherdude

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Lake Superior remains eight inches above average levels now. Last year at this time it was thirteen inches above average level. This is not really good news for Lake Ontario levels yet. With maximum flow out of Lake Ontario it takes a week to drop things a total of one inch. If you want the lake to drop thirty six inches, it will be Thanksgiving to be normal unless the snow melt and rain waters are higher. Be prepared for the same conditions again this year. 

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I think the situation is somewhat better this year according to the data - height is right about where we were last year but that doesn't necessarily equate to the same conditions because up until now the slope of the data shows that the height has not changed much since the beginning of the year which is contrary to last year. We started the year a foot above where we were last year and now are about even.  Hard to say but I look at a lot of data and this looks slightly better all things being equal.  A wet spring could change that of course.   

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http://ijc.org/en_/islrbc/news?news_id=637&myID=1

 

This is a month old now, but discharge through the St Lawrence remains at a higher level than 2017, as the better ice cover this year allows higher discharge without flooding along the river.

 

"Maximum outflows being released as levels remain high and winter continues

2018/01/31

 

Several months of maximizing outflows has dropped Lake Ontario at an unprecedented rate and to well below the record peak set at the end of May 2017, yet water levels remain relatively high for this time of year after a cold and wet start to winter. Outflows continue to be maximized in response while making intermittent and temporary reductions to manage challenging ice conditions in several areas of the St. Lawrence River. 

Following last year’s record-wet spring and despite several months of continuing wet weather thereafter, at the start of January, Lake Ontario’s level had fallen 1.12 m (3.7 ft) below its 2017 peak, the largest drop ever recorded from June through the end of December. Extreme cold and snow near the start of 2018 followed by milder temperatures, heavy rain and snowmelt more recently has Lake Ontario’s level rising once again, reaching a level of 74.91 m (245.77 ft) as of 30 January. This is 31 cm (12 inches) above average, although still 28 cm (11.0 in) lower than the record-high for this time of year set in 1952. Lake levels have been higher at this time of the year sixteen times since 1918 (when reliable records began), most recently in 2012.

In response to the high water levels, the Board is still setting outflows from Lake Ontario at the highest rates while managing ice conditions. Recent reductions were required to promote the formation of a solid, stable ice cover in critical sections of the St. Lawrence River, thereafter allowing increased outflow under the ice. Without this stable ice cover, the risk of ice jams is high. These ice jams can clog the river, forcing sudden, significant flow reductions and an increased risk of localized flooding. Outflows are currently 1,730 cubic metres per second above average, 180 cubic metres per second above the previous record-high flow in 1986 and are expected to continue to increase gradually as ice and weather conditions allow. 

While Lake Ontario remains well above average, historically, winter water levels have not provided an accurate indicator of the peak later in spring. Hydrologic conditions have a much greater influence, and while impossible to predict, it is unlikely that last spring's combination of exceptional rainfall, snowmelt and rapidly rising inflows from Lake Erie will all repeat themselves and lead to extremely high water levels again this year. Nonetheless, extreme conditions may occur in any given year, and when they do, the risk of extreme water levels cannot be substantially reduced through regulation of outflows. As a result, shoreline property owners, businesses, and local government officials are advised to always be prepared for the full range of water levels that could occur on Lake Ontario, both highs and lows, now and in the future. 

The Board, in conjunction with its staff, continues to monitor and reassess conditions on an ongoing basis. Information on hydrologic conditions, water levels and outflows, including graphics and photos, are available on the Board’s website and posted to the Board’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/InternationalLakeOntarioStLawrenceRiverBoard (English), including this video, which explains why the management of ice conditions on the river is so critical. "

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Posted (edited)

It is at least an indication that the Board of Control is actively managing the flow, and is not hampered by the " open channel" that would cause St Lawrence River flooding at higher discharge, like last winter.  Once the ice is gone they have to cut back, and there is always the wild card of March-April precipitation, and the Ottawa River.  I am not surprised to hear that the water is lower now than it was last May, the "flood" in LO did not peak until last May.  But if average March-April Precipitation is ~7", as was reported last year, and actual for M-A  2017 was 14", it is unlikely that the same high water situation as 2017 will occur without another record spring. And if they dropped the level another 3 feet, you would likely not be able to launch at many places along the lake because the water would be too low! 

Edited by Lucky13

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