High water forces closure of canal section

The seemingly incessant rainfall this week forced the Canal Corp. to shut down part of the Erie Cana

The seemingly incessant rainfall this week forced the Canal Corp. to shut down part of the Erie Canal on Friday, six days after it opened.

The closure left four vessels stuck on the canal unable to pass through the locks, but all were safely moored, Canal Corp. spokesman R.W. Groneman said.

High water concerns prompted the closing from Lock 2 in Waterford to Lock 15 in Fort Plain, while sections farther west, including from Lock 23 in Brewerton to Lock 26 in Clyde, remained closed on Friday, as were the entire Genesee River and the Cayuga-Seneca and Oswego canals. It was unclear Friday how long those parts of the canal system will remain closed.

But boaters looking to cruise the Champlain Canal will finally get their chance today and Sunday.

The Champlain Canal will open at 7 a.m. today from Lock 1 in Waterford to Lock 7 in Fort Edward.

The stretch from Lock 7 to Lock 12 in Whitehall is expected to be open at 7 a.m. Sunday, according to the Canal Corp.

The Albany area got soaked with 3.64 inches of rain over the past week, which National Weather Service Meteorologist Neil Stuart said is a lot.

“It’s just been a solidly wet spring,” Stuart said.

A storm system affecting portions of the Capital Region Friday afternoon was heading out of the area, with remnants likely to remain this afternoon, he said.

Showers and thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon, but they will be more widely scattered, Stuart said.

“That should be it for this particular storm,” he said.

The temperatures are expected to warm up, leaving the atmosphere unstable, so there could be isolated showers and thunderstorms through the middle of next week.

The showers and storms are more likely in the afternoon because daytime heating of the air closer to the ground combined with cooler air in the upper atmosphere causes the weather to be unstable, he said.

There are indications that the region could begin to dry out Wednesday.

Wakes are visible on the downstream side of the buoys along the Mohawk River, an indication of the strength and speed of the water.

Groneman at the Canal Corp. said people should exercise common sense before going out on the water.

“We can’t emphasize enough, wear a life preserver,” Groneman said.

People who want to get the most up-to-date information on the status of portions of the canal system can sign up for the canal’s TRANSAlert system at www.canals.ny.gov/tas.

Categories: Schenectady County

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