Saturday storm update: Travel banned in Jefferson, St. Lawrence counties | Public Service News

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Watertown — A night of blinding snow, roars and flashing snowplow lights led to a quiet morning on Christmas Eve. The storm isn’t over yet, but there was a lull Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service, allowing drilling to begin.

A house under construction collapsed on Hillside Drive in the town of Watertown. Trees fell across other homes, power lines and driveways.

Snowplows hummed in Watertown just after dawn.

National Grid reports 3,800 customers are without power in Jefferson County, primarily along the St. Lawrence River, which includes Lake Ontario and Wellesley Island.

Photos shared on social media on Friday afternoon showed storm surges crashing into Clayton’s riverfront promenade.

The National Weather Service is calling for heavy lake-like snow to be expected through 1 p.m. Sunday, “creating life-threatening conditions.”

Projections are for wind gusts of 70 miles per hour to deposit 3 to 4 feet in some areas. Wind chill can drop to 10-20 degrees below zero. The temperature in Watertown on Saturday morning was 8 degrees.

“The lake effect snow belt will make travel impossible,” the weather service alert said. “Visibility drops to zero in areas of snowstorms. Very strong winds cause extensive tree damage and power outages. Cold wind chills of -20 degrees can cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.” there is potential.”

Jefferson County has banned travel until further notice.

Jefferson County fire and emergency management chief Joseph D. Plummer said 75 to 100 vehicles, some abandoned, some abandoned, were seen off roads around the county around 7:30 a.m. Said the person was stuck.

The National Weather Service predicts that areas of northwestern Jefferson County along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River will continue to be hit hardest today.

Lawrence County has extended its night travel ban to 8pm. The sheriff’s office will reassess road conditions this evening and determine whether to extend or lift the travel ban.

Due to very bad conditions and limited visibility, residents are advised to stay off the road.

The sheriff’s office and state police are investigating numerous car crashes, some involving piles of multiple cars. Many vehicles are disabled on the roadside, leaving drivers stranded. Emergency responders are in the process of finding and rescuing stranded motorists.

Briar Hill Fire Chief Sean Macaulay said Route 68 between Ogdensburg and Canton is closed.

Lawrence County Deputy Sheriff Sean P. O’Brien reported deputies and firefighters using UTVs to rescue people stranded in vehicles.

A shelter was set up at the Hammond Fire Station.

About 600 households lost power Saturday morning in St. Lawrence County. All reported blackouts occurred in the northeast corner of the county.

Most businesses, including large chain stores and grocery stores, will remain closed on Saturday and won’t be open until Monday morning.

Rowville, Evans Mills and Watertown Walmarts closed early Friday and will remain closed through the weekend, with all three locations set to reopen Monday.

Price Chopper closed seven stores on Saturday. Stores in West Carthage, Potsdam, Ogdensburg, Gouverneur, Canton, Watertown and Alexandria Bay are expected to reopen at 6am on Monday.

Salmon Run Mall announced on its Facebook page that it will reopen at 10am on Monday.

In Potsdam, LaVigne’s IGA kept the lights on and stocked the shelves on Christmas Eve. A handful of shoppers made their way through the aisles Saturday morning while employees finished their last shifts until Monday. The Elm Street store will be closing at 5pm today.

On Saturday morning, the intersections of Elm Street and Leroy Street and Elm Street and Market were normally busy, but traffic increased as the winds eased temporarily in the morning.

Villagers took advantage of this reprieve to shovel plow balms from driveways to clear walkways for pedestrians. The digital gauge points to 10 degrees, but the sensible temperature was minus 11 degrees, taking into account the coldness caused by the wind.

Erin M. Coleman and her youngest son William, who drove from Wisconsin to New York last weekend, shoveled the driveway across from Canton Potsdam Hospital Cancer Treatment Center. Ms. Coleman was waiting for the arrival of her son Michael. She said he left New Jersey at 4 a.m. Saturday and hoped he would drive the day to get to Potsdam.

She and her family have lived in the Leroy Street home for nearly 30 years. A violent storm from the past comes to her mind, but she doesn’t remember “Blizzard”.

According to the National Weather Service, a blizzard warning requires a blizzard expected to reduce visibility to a quarter mile or less for at least three hours. There are no temperature requirements, but wind speeds must be at least 35 mph for the warning to occur.

Blizzard warnings are in effect until 7:00 p.m. Sunday in St. Lawrence County and 1:00 p.m. in Jefferson County.

“I don’t mind the cold so much anymore,” Coleman said. “It’s the wind that catches you.”

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