water levels are back to normal - maybe
Buffalo News Tribune
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has stated that the Lake
Erie water level has returned to just above its annual average,
so the low water problem that has hindered Western New York
boaters for the past few seasons might not be a problem
"Buffalo is currently
listed as 2.72 feet above chart datum (International Great
Lakes Datum, 1985). But that can change very quickly.
Winds can be a big factor in the lake's elevation," said
Christine Fisher, hydrological engineer for the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers.
Boaters can get
the latest available figures by going online (http://co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/data_res.html).
At the end of the day, the 24 hourly lake level readings
are averaged out and the mean lake level is posted. That
becomes the verified figure.
Lake Erie is
at its long-term average level, and 10 inches above where
it was this time last year. Lake Ontario's level is 5
inches above its long-term average and is 8 inches above
the level this time last year.
information provided by the Department of the Army, Watershed
Hydrology Branch in Detroit, the expected water level
should be 31 inches above the 1985 chart datum. All the
Great Lakes are in their normal seasonal rises.
But keep in mind
that this could change. Just last January, it was forecast
by the U.S. Corps of Engineers that because of the low
winter snowfall, mild winter temperatures and the absence
of the normal ice cover, that evaporation would continue
throughout the winter and the levels would continue to
go down. But right now, it looks like water levels will
not be a problem for boaters.
opens for business
Cannon, operations manager for NFTA's Small Boat Harbor
on Fuhrmann Boulevard, said that the windy spring weather
has inflicted some damage on the marina. The gas dock
shed and the dock itself suffered the most damage and
many of the trees on the property were injured.
"A lot of Lake
Erie's bottom ended up in our parking lot and we had a
big mess to clean up," Cannon said. The marina officially
opened Wednesday with a fishing tournament to benefit
the Make-A-Wish Foundation set for this weekend.
In addition to
the standard seasonal slip rentals, the marina is offering
all size slips for shorter term use, too. They can be
rented for daily, weekly and monthly use. That could be
a handy way to see if renting a slip is better than trailering
"We have about
a 90 percent seasonal occupancy again this year, just
about the same as last year," Cannon said. "By offering
slips for short-term use, we can take advantage of those
available slips. It's something we began last year."
from the cold
temperature for the lake and Niagara River is hovering
in the mid-40 degree range. That's about average for early
spring but it's an important factor to keep in mind when
heading out in your boat. Hypothermia is very dangerous
and an ever-present threat for boaters, especially before
the water warms to its summer swimming temperature.
to do everything you can to protect yourself and your
passengers while you're out. Have a dry change of clothes
for yourself and ask your guests to bring a change too
- in case of a surprise dunking.
Also make it
a routine part of your trip to wear your personal flotation
device (PFD). It should be as automatic as buckling your
seat belt when riding in a car. As well as providing flotation
in case of a man-overboard situation, they can help in
keeping the wearer a little warmer and to preserve body
heat. Boats are few and far between early in the season
so rescue assistance may not be nearby. Remember, too,
that children under 12 must be wearing a PFD.
Even if you refuse
to wear your life jacket while boating, at least be sure
to try it on at the start of the season to be sure it
fits properly. Make any necessary fitting adjustments
and store it in an easily accessible compartment while
it's not in use. Pull it out and have it by your side
while you're aboard and moving. It can't save your life
if it's tucked away somewhere where it'll stay neat and
Check all flotation
devices for damage from deterioration, dry-rot, cuts and
abrasions they may have suffered in the offseason. If
you find one that's not in good condition, get rid of
it. Be sure to destroy it completely before you toss it
in a trash can, to be sure no one else tries to use it.