PLATTSBURGH - Mayor pro tem James E. Calnon, after consulting with County and City officials has determined that in the interests of public safety and protection a limited state of emergency should be declared.
Mayor Donald M. Kasprzak, who is out of town this week, expressed the same safety concerns and he "urges the public to respect the temporary restrictions on lake and river access."
The limited State of Emergency - issued April 29 - is for the areas in the City along Lake Champlain and the Saranac River. Record high lake and river levels have made riverbanks, beaches, docks, and other low-lying areas dangerous. Weather reports for the next several days indicate no significant rain, but officials are worried that even moderate south winds could make the high lake level even more disruptive. "If winds aggravate the situation, portions of some city streets may have to be closed, as the north end of Cumberland Avenue has been several times in the past two days. "
"All public areas along the lake, from the City Beach to the former Air Force Base marina are closed, " Calnon said. "The areas have been marked with caution tape, they will be marked as No Trespass areas today. The public is reminded that ignoring No Trespass signs may subject them to arrest and prosecution. It's just that dangerous out there, people need to stay away from flooded areas!"
"Our Municipal Lighting Department has shut off power to a few locations where rising water could cause problems, including our downtown waterfront area. Residents and Businesses that see rising water approaching distribution panels or transformers should contact MLD directly.
City employees are actively working to protect City-owned properties. For example, a berm has been built on the lake side of the Water Pollution Control Plant and no interruption in operations has occurred. City workers are not able to assist homeowners and businesses.
The latest information from the National Weather Service indicates that the lake level may rise a few more inches in the next two days and begin to recede a day or two after that. "Expectations are that we will reach 102.8 feet over the weekend and begin to recede early next week," Calnon added. "Weather forecasts predict minor rain in the next several days, but the greatest concern is wind. Wind from the south would cause much more erosion and would also drive water to higher levels, spreading the flood waters even further."