Lake Champlain approaching flood stage - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lake Champlain approaching flood stage

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The rain has caused more problems than Vermont was ready for, washing out numerous roads around the region.  And now there is a new concern -- high water levels in Lake Champlain.

"Flood stage is 100 feet. It's currently around 99.6 feet," said John Goff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

In May, Lake Champlain began rising quickly, and has been breaking records along the way. July 4th the levels rose to 99.38 feet, the highest it's ever been for that day.

"It's unusual to see this occurring in July, but it's not unexpected seeing how much rainfall we've seen," Goff said. "Last year, it tended to recede and we had a more normal rainfall pattern, so we did not see those levels. This year, being the wetter pattern, it's reached the higher levels."

Water levels usually are highest in April and recede throughout the summer until the end of the year and then increase during March. This year, Lake Champlain water levels are going up during the summer, not down. But despite the high waters, it will still take more rain to make Lake Champlain run over. "It takes a lot of water to go into the lake to make it just rise an inch or two. It's a hundred mile lake -- a lot of water in there," Goff said.

But a few more inches could cause flooding, something that lake towns like Colchester know all too well from flooding in 2011.  And as the rain falls and the lake rises, officials who monitor the lake fear scene like this could be repeated. "If you're close to the flood stage and you were in the fall or winter time period, you'd have a lot of stronger winds out on the lake and you could get wave action that would actually aggravate the problem," Goff said.

The National Weather Service says lake shore properties should keep an eye on the water levels over the next few weeks and watch out for any flood warnings. "Monitor closely, stand by and watch as we evolve over the next couple of weeks, see how things pan out and then you can make the appropriate decisions if it gets closer or if it unfortunately goes over flood stage again," Goff said.

May and June may be among the two wettest months on record for Vermont.  And as the rain continues in July, so do the concerns over flooding.

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