A one-two springtime punch of rain and melting snow has driven Lake Champlain into flood stage—with water levels expected to slowly rise throughout the week.
Lake Champlain crossed past its flood stage of 100 feet Sunday.
“It’s getting up there,” a bicyclist said Monday while riding near the water in St. Albans Bay, referencing the lake level.
High water drowned a fishing pier in St. Albans Bay, and crept into the backyards of low-lying properties.
There was a similar picture at the Malletts Bay Boat Club in Colchester, where a concrete dock was fully underwater Monday.
And at Perkins Pier in Burlington, the rising lake level cut off a portion of a park where Steve Titcomb likes to take a seat on benches and enjoy the view.
“Well you have to swim, I think,” Titcomb joked, describing how to reach the park benches. “I guess you could wade out there, but that water’s pretty cold for wading; I don’t think I’ll do it!”
And while the lake has reached flood stage, the flooding is minor.
According to the National Weather Service, for there to be real damage, we’d need to see one of two things: another half foot to a foot of water, or significant winds.
“That would impact the lake,” NWS meteorologist Eric Evenson said of the impact lashing winds would have on high water—forcing it onto land.
Evenson predicted the lake level will slowly rise to 100.5 feet by mid-to-late week, but said conditions are looking good in the near-term for the valley to stay out of big trouble from flooding.
Evenson is expecting only gradual snowmelt from the highest mountain peaks, and no big deluges of rain expected in the forecast.
“But really, once you start hearing forecasts where we’re thinking the lake is going to 101 feet, that’s when property and roads start to get impacted,” Evenson cautioned.
Evenson advised people who live or work near the shore to pay close attention to the forecast, so they can stay vigilant to any emerging threats—such as from powerful gusts or new rain—because the lake level is expected to stay high for a while, the meteorologist said.