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Along the Lakeshore: Nov. 27

The effects of weather on the lake

We certainly had a good blow Sunday evening and Monday morning. Fortunately, the Syracuse water department had been persuaded to lower the level of the lake approximately 12 inches which allowed most of the heavy wave action to pass below docks and hoists, causing little or no damage. It appears that a minimum of flotsam and jetsam was launched into the lake. I assume most beach stuff and dock parts had been moved above the normal spring high water level of 863 feet.

I hope the city continues to reach for 860 feet by Jan. 1, 2014. This will give the reservoir a cushion to accept extraordinary snowpack or some tropical discharge which could dump 5 to 6 inches a day into the lake. This happened when hurricane Agnes dumped 8 inches in three days and the lake rose to more than 865 feet. The mole (breakwater used as a landing pier) surface at the Skaneateles Country Club is at 863 feet and was covered with at least 2 feet of water. The unfortunate part of the high water was that most folks around the lake had put in their docks and boat hoists. Some boats were trapped on some type of hoist. Other boats had no place to park, as docks were submerged. The sheriff also limited motorboat use for about two weeks until the level had been lowered to close to normal high water. He was worried that the extraordinary high water would cause excessive shoreline damage from motorboat wakes. The drawdown was moderate, as all parts of the drainage system were overtaxed and it took about three weeks to get the lake opened for normal use.

It was also a real pain to rescue a dock and install it at a higher level. General Marshall, retired from the Army Corps of Engineers and our mayor, pointed out that the surface area of the lake had increased 10 to 20 percent with the excessive level, which meant much more water had to be drained to lower the level. Normal fluctuations stay within the established shoreline base.

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