NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. - A year after Western New York's legendary drought, the combination of warm temperatures and plenty of rain has led to a new problem this spring on Lake Ontario.
The water levels are high-- 13 inches higher than the average, in fact. That's causing problems for homeowners, who pay a lot of money for their land on the lake and don't want to see any erosion.
Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour and Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey announced this week that boaters should adhere to a 50--foot "no wake zone" limit, in an attempt to keep them as far from the shore as possible. They also urged people not to operate heavy equipment near the shore this spring because the banks may not be stable, and they are asking people to keep their children and pets from getting too close to the shoreline.
Bob Cinelli, a Newfane resident, said the levels this year aren't extraordinarily high compared to some years.
But they're certainly high. For boaters like Cinelli, high waters are better than low waters, but property owners have really struggled with erosion this year. A storm last week hit them particularly hard, too.
"If you're fortunate enough to live on the lake, it's not very fun to look out the window and watch your yard fall in," Cinelli said.
Of course, if you're fishing, the high waters make it a bit easier to catch something. That's what happened to Paul Cain, who is on his first day of a five-day fishing trip across the state.
"The water level is so close to the top of the pier, we could net our fish with a short-handed net," Cain said. "Scooped it up, put it on the pier, took a picture of it and threw it back."