Uncertainty for spring, but officials taking note of high water levels in Great Lakes

By Louise Sproule, The Review, February 17, 2020

Lake Ontario is again near record highs for this time of year and the risk of high levels this spring remains elevated. While considerable uncertainty in projections for spring still exists, the International Lake Ontario–St. Lawrence River Board is providing advanced notice so communities can begin planning for a foreseeable Lake Ontario peak of 75.5 m (247.7 feet) or higher in 2020. Please work with your local municipal officials to determine best preparedness and response measures.

The Board continues to deviate from Plan 2014 and maximize outflows as it removes as much water from Lake Ontario as conditions allow to reduce the risk of high water throughout the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system this spring.

All of the other Great Lakes are above record high water levels for this time of year. Despite record outflows in recent weeks, Lake Ontario’s level is only slightly below seasonal record-highs, behind only the levels recorded in mid February during the previous high water years of 1952 and 1973, and at similar levels to those seen at this time in 1978 and 1993. Given the high levels across the Great Lakes basin currently, high waters are a distinct possibility again on Lake Ontario, in the 1000 Islands and along the lower St. Lawrence River in Quebec this spring.


Connect with us