Several waterways closed to boating, water levels expected to rise

The scene along the Seneca River in Baldwinsville. / photo: Caitlin Nuclo

Flood watches or warnings are in place for much of upstate New York as a new round of storms moves through the region, dumping more rain on already-swollen waterways.

CNY Central meteorologist Peter Hall says Onondaga Lake still has a localized lake flood warning, but t here are no official warnings that are tracked for Cross Lake and Oneida Lake because there are no observation gauge stations there. However, there is still localized flooding observed.

The National Weather Service says the rain that started Tuesday was expected to be heaviest west and north of the Catskills into the southern Adirondacks. There were flood warnings for the upper Hudson River and its tributaries, the Susquehanna, and the Lake Champlain shoreline.

Hall says water levels will likely rise on all rivers, lakes and streams for the next 24 hours due to rain runoff. Many of the weather service notices are in place until Wednesday evening, but some are open-ended.

Due to rising water levels, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office has closed both the Oneida and Seneca Rivers to all boaters. Sheriff Kevin Walsh says a no wake advisory remains in effect for the shore lines of all lakes and reservoirs until further notice.

Both the Oswego County and Onondaga County Sheriff's Offices have announced that Oneida Lake is closed to boater traffic in order to minimize shoreline damage due to high water levels and flooding. A number of gates on the Finger Lakes were opened to release water, which means water levels on Oneida Lake and Onondaga Lake, as well as the Seneca River, are likely to rise.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has issued a flood advisory for the Towns of Van Buren, Lysander, Cicero, Clay, Geddes, and Salina. The villages of Baldwinsville and Liverpool are also included.

It's been a tough few days for the Red Mill Inn, which sits right next to the Seneca River in Baldwinsville. "It's crazy," said Jimmy Wulforst from the Red Mill Inn. "The last couple of days the water was so high and then we thought we had a break but then all of a sudden it's back up again. So every day we are trying to get water out of our basement."

Tuesday night, the river was quickly rushing. The Red Mill Inn is hoping Mother Nature sends some sunshine soon because with boaters banned from the water, it's landlocking some of their business. "People don't want to come out, the canal delayed opening and we rely on that business with the boats docking and coming in and actually utilizing our hotel," said Wulforst.

"I've lived here about 50 years and the water is probably the highest I've ever seen it," said Peter Ramin, who lives in Baldwinsville. He says his business is being affected too. He owns a local sports complex and can't open the outdoor fields.

There's also concern of flooding in Ithaca from the Cayuga Lake. The Cayuga County Sheriff's Office has restricted boating there as well.

Residents and businesses on the north side of Ithaca, and low-laying areas such as the southwest business district, and the Titus Flats area, are already experiencing flooding conditions. Officials are warning people to monitor the water levels closely. If you need sandbags, you can call the streets and facilities division.

If you experience flooding, contact your town or village officials immediately.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.