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Historic Lakeshore Flooding

By on May 30, 2017
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500+ Homes Impacted in Greece Area

According to Lakeshore Fire Department Chief James O’Coin there are 551 lakefront homes in his district from Edgemere Drive to Hilton that are potentially impacted by the high water levels of Lake Ontario.

All United States and Canadian Lake Ontario shorelines are experiencing flooding. The lake commission states that the unusually heavy rainfall and early snow melt this spring are to blame for the current flooding problems all along the shoreline. According to data released by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Lake Ontario’s water level has risen 14.2 inches since April 1, 2017 and increased a total of 39 inches since the seasonal low level in December. During the month of April some areas in the lake’s watershed got more than twice the usual amount of rain, rain which ultimately ended up in Lake Ontario and brought the lake to its highest level in 24 years.

The high waters are causing flooding to many homes and properties along the southern lakeshore of Lake Ontario. Many Greece residents have suffered damage to their break walls, property and homes. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers forecasts the lake will rise an additional six inches in May based on forecasted higher than usual rainfall.

A resident of Old Edgemere Drive in Greece has lived on his property for over 50 years. He has witnessed many severe storms, including Hurricane Agnes, and has never seen conditions this bad. “This is the highest the lake has been since I have been here,” he said. His garage is underwater but his break wall is intact. Many of his neighbors lost their break walls and their homes are flooded. He expects it to get worse as we go through Spring into Summer and anticipates that once the winds shift to the northwest the northeastern communities will be adversely affected. He praised the efforts of the Town of Greece, especially Supervisor Bill Reilich, in their flood relief efforts. “Bill is fighting right alongside all of us. I give him a lot of credit with all of the weather disasters our town has faced in the past few months.”

For many lakeshore residents insurance does not cover damage the high lake level is causing to their homes. A 6th grader, Ava Frosini, from Northwood Elementary School set up a Go Fund Me account for her Grandma who is living in one of the homes being destroyed by the lake. Her grandmother is an 87 year old widow on fixed income and her insurance will not cover the damage.

Town of Greece officials are working together with the Supervisors Office, the Highway Department, the Fire Department and Police Department to provide as much help as they can to residents. “Every day we have a phone conference to discuss the situation and discuss the best way to provide resources to the lakeshore residents,” said O’Coin.

In one week the Town of Greece provided residents with over 56,000 sand bags, and during the first weekend of May they packed and provided 20,000 more that were used as a deterrent to the flooding. Supervisor Reilich is working to not only provide resources to help residents, but also working on fostering a resolution to high lake levels.

The Town of Greece received help packing sand bags from the U.S. National Guard and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department inmates. The Canandaigua Civil Air Patrol NY212 helped with distribution of sand bags to residents. Greece high school students and sports teams also helped with the sand bag operation.

Volunteers are always needed to continue the relief efforts. To find out about volunteer opportunities in Greece contact Deputy Supervisor Michelle Marini at 585-225-2000. For updates on the lakeshore situation, road closures and sandbag distribution visit Supervisor Reilich Facebook Page. www.facebook.com/Bill-Reilich-Greece-Town-Supervisor

Photos by Karen Fien

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