Fair Haven Flooding .JPG

Rising water is shown on Lake Ontario in Fair Haven on May 1.

With high water levels impacting other Lake Ontario shoreline communities, Fair Haven Mayor Jim Basile is urging residents to prepare for flooding. 

Lake Ontario was at 247.93 feet Thursday, nearly two feet higher than the historical average for this time of year. On the same day in 2017 when flooding occurred along the lake, the water level was 248.62 feet. 

Basile, who owns a home on the waterfront, said the water is spilling over a seawall near his property. 

"It's not good," he added. 

The state has sent more than 80,000 sandbags, a sandbagging machine, pumps and other equipment to Fair Haven and northern Cayuga County. The sandbags are available at the village pavilion on Church Street in Fair Haven. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that 100 more New York National Guard members have been deployed to assist with flood preparations. There were already 100 National Guard members providing help in the eight counties along the lake. 

Basile repeated his criticism of the International Joint Commission, which oversees the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board that manages water levels. He believes the flooding could have been avoided if the commission didn't adopt Plan 2014, which outlines how to manage lake levels. 

The IJC maintains that high water levels aren't due to Plan 2014. Precipitation is the main culprit, according to the commission. 

Basile spoke to an IJC representative this week. He said the official was "very knowledgeable" about Plan 2014 and how water levels are managed. But the conversation didn't alter his stance. 

"This is preventable," he said. "The new plan is in effect and we've had nothing but issues." 

Some residents started to place sandbags on their properties to protect against rising water, Basile said. He has received emails from constituents who informed him that their docks are submerged or close to being underwater. 

Basile's advice for residents: Don't wait until the last minute. 

"They should be taking steps to protect their property now and do what's right for their property," he said. 

In other news

• The National Weather Service issued a small craft advisory for the Lake Ontario shoreline. 

The advisory is in effect until 5 a.m. Saturday. 

West winds of 15 to 25 knots are expected with waves of 3 to 6 feet. The high winds will create hazardous conditions for small vessels, according to the advisory. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.