Repeated storms and flash floods lash Yates County again

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express
According to homeowners, levels on Seneca Lake are as high as they've been since the spring flood of 1993.

YATES COUNTY -- After a spring and summer plagued with "microburst" windstorms and intensely localized flash flooding that washed out roads, flooded basements, and damaged lakefront properties, now fall has ushered in more flooding with wider, more sustained rainfalls in two storms coming off the Atlantic.

The newly refurbished Torrey Town Beach suffered extreme erosion.

The last week of October saw rainfall totals for the month in the Keuka and Seneca Lake watersheds exceed 9 inches, with more rain to start November. With the ground already saturated, several roads along Keuka Lake and in Middlesex were closed due to flooding and fallen trees, with some remaining closed due to land subsidence. Lake levels on Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga have risen to their highest since the flooding in the spring of 1993 when the runoff from a heavy late blizzard was accelerated and exacerbated by heavy rains.

Permanent docks and lifts were damaged by the high water and winds.
Keuka Lake at Indian Pines.

Damage to temporary docks still in the water, boats still in lifts, and some permanent docks now underwater, have been widespread. Levels of flow in the Keuka Lake Outlet (hampered by the broken Gate 1 at Penn Yan) and the N.Y. State Barge Canal are at a current maximum, but levels are only coming down gradually. Low-lying properties between Seneca and Cayuga lakes are already flooded. Fortunately, a period of relatively dry weather is forecast for the coming weeks.

The gates at Penn Yan wide open except for the broken Gate 1.
The Keuka Lake Outlet at flood stage with numerous downed trees.
More trees carried down the Outlet. Evidence along the bank showed that the water had been almost two feet higher overnight Oct. 30.
The Outlet returned to its older courses in places.
The Seneca Mill Falls was a torrent.
Large snags were left as the water level in the Outlet began to go down.
Some permanent docks on Seneca were submerged by the flood waters.
More debris washed up at Dresden as water continued to rise.
The Navy base at Dresden became a catch basin for floating debris.