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Oswego County gets sandbags as Lake Ontario continues to rise

Payne Horning
Sandy Creek resident Robert Tackney stands at the edge of his residence where water levels in Sandy Pond are 3 feet higher than normal. Next to him are the sandbags he made while waiting for Oswego County to provide some from the state.

Water levels continue to rise on Lake Ontario, and the National Weather Service has issued a Lakeshore Flood Warning for Oswego and Jefferson counties from 4 p.m. Tuesday until 4 p.m. Wednesday. 

In Sandy Creek resident Robert Tackney's backyard, the water of Sandy Pond splashes against the concrete ramp of his boat launch. It's been like Tackney's own water gauge over the past month, showing levels that are now 3 feet above normal.

"It came up real quick," Tackney said. "It hasn't been this high -- not even when you get into the high water in July when the lake level peaks."

Tackney's home sits just a few feet away from the boat launch. He's been trying unsuccessfully to get sandbags from o Oswego County for the past three weeks, eventually forced to make his own. Oswego County was not included when the governor sent sandbags last month to several counties like Jefferson and Cayuga.

But now, the director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office Dale Currier says the state has delivered 30,000 sand bags to the county.

"We're watching this very closely and working with our state and federal partners and accessing what resources we can," Currier said. 

Credit Payne Horning / WRVO News
30,000 sandbags from the state have been delivered to Oswego County as Lake Ontario continues to rise.

Currier says the situation in Oswego County has not been as dire in other shoreline communities.

"We don't have any areas of that we know of yet where sandbagging is warranted so we can't say it's going to definitively provide relief," Currier said. 

Currier says Oswego County has experienced some coastal erosion as a result of the abnormally high Lake Ontario water levels. He says the sandbags provide little to no protection against that threat.

The situation is worse along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, where gusty winds Sunday caused major coastal flooding across parts of Monroe and Wayne counties.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts the water level could rise another 8 inches over the next month. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.