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STATE OF EMERGENCY | Lake Ontario rising water levels

Niagara County: Rising lake levels sparks State of Emergency

Friday, April 21, 2017, 7:21 - A State of Emergency was declared for Niagara County Thursday due to high water levels at Lake Ontario, which have flooded and damaged property along the shoreline, according to local media reports.

The declaration is the second one this week for the south shore of Lake Ontario. 

Earlier this week, Wayne County, east of Rochester, was forced to declare a State of Emergency for its harbors and bays. Lake Ontario and Wayne County bays and harbors are reported to be at or above flooding level (247.3 feet), according to Finger Lakes Times

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Officials have been monitoring water levels at the lake since late last week. Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour advised boaters to stay at least 500 feet from shore to avoid churning up additional waves. 

Local officials hope to share further information regarding the State of at a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at the Olcott Yacht Club, according to Buffalo News. The clubhouse on Olcott Harbor was one of several properties flooded by rising water at Lake Ontario this week, news agency reported.

As of Thursday afternoon, four lakeshore towns in Niagara Country were under a State Of Emergency -- Porter, Wilson, Newfane and Somerset. 

The declaration will allow the county to seek special state aid, Public Information Officer Christian W. Peck told Buffalo News.

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Lake Ontario is currently at about 247.3 feet above sea level. Some are blaming the International Joint Commission's Plan 2014 -- a new regulation which controls water levels at Lake Ontario -- for the flooding. 

Lake Ontario is 8 inches higher than this time last year, with another 11 inch increase expected by mid-May, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Meanwhile, officials were keeping a close eye on a potent low set to bring up to an inch – locally higher –of additional rainfall to the Niagara Country region Thursday. 

Watch below: Storm Track

Sources: Finger Lakes Times | Buffalo News | US Army Corps of Engineers

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