MALONE — Residents are watching for ice and snow sliding off roofs, rising water and downed wires as roller-coaster-weather conditions again grip the North Country.
National Weather Service officials are calling for a blustery day Tuesday, with temperatures only in the teens, after having reached the 40s on Monday.
Wind gusts are expected at 40 mph, which will drop the wind chill to more than 20 degrees below zero. The low could be about 5 above zero overnight with a high near 20 and a low of 5 to 10 degrees for Wednesday and into Thursday.
Forecasters say there is a 30 percent chance of snow on Friday, with the high temperature about 30 and the low around 20.
AccuWeather.com warns that the arctic blast "will bring the risk of frostbite and hypothermia to those not property dressed. It will also bring the potential for dead car batteries, frozen pipes and power outages.
"In some areas, moisture left behind from recent rainfall may not only cause car doors to freeze shut but could produce patches of black ice on untreated roads and sidewalks."
At 4:17 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service in Burlington issued a flash-flood warning for north-central Essex County and south-central Clinton County after the East Branch of the Ausable River leaped above its 7.6-foot flood stage.
Minor flooding of Route 9N and along the river in AuSable Forks was expected, according to the warning, which was set to expire at 10:15 p.m.
An ice jam earlier in the day had formed then broke apart on its own, according to Clinton County Dispatch.
AuSable Forks Volunteer Fire Department was keeping an eye on the situation there.
For a second weekend, chimneys were damaged in Clinton and Franklin counties when sheets of ice broke loose from metal roofs and smashed into them.
Anyone walking the sidewalks or driving the streets and roads should also know that pooled water or wet pavement can mask a layer of ice that can lead to falls and car crashes.
Temperatures were forecast to plummet more than 40 degrees within a few hours between Monday afternoon and evening, settling in about 1 degree above zero.
John Bashaw II, deputy director of Franklin County Emergency Services warned about extreme cold.
"When it gets that cold is when you build up frazil ice,” he said. “It changes the water to slush.”
And when the slush gets thick enough, the water flow has nowhere to go except on top of the ice that typically covers backyards.
That was especially a danger in Malone, where a neighborhood of homes is being bought out by the federal government because of chronic flooding.
The owners have a few more bouts of thaw-related flooding to endure before the two-year application process is finished.
If the extreme cold lasts longer than a few days, the water will likely get redirected onto the street and begin flooding basements and lower floors of vulnerable homes along Lower Park, particularly in the 300 block.
High winds accompanying the cold blast could bring down limbs, trees and power lines the next few days.
Kelly Donoghue, assistant director of Clinton County Emergency Services, said no flooding threats were reported Monday, but roofs and chimneys could be vulnerable because of the weight of ice and snow.
Property owners and businesses should try to clear or treat wet walkways and driveways before the cold sets in and freezes those areas, making them even more treacherous to navigate.
“And people should buy those grippers for the bottom of their shoes,” he said, referring to a pair of devices with short spikes embedded in silicone that slip over most styles of boots and shoes to add traction.
“Buying those would save people a lot of headaches,” Donoghue said. “People need to use due caution. People feel a certain level of comfort in the warmer weather, but as the temperature goes back down, they still need to use caution, whether they're driving or walking."
The weather seemed to have minimal effect on Plattsburgh International Airport.
One flight coming into Plattsburgh from Boston on PenAir was delayed Monday morning due to weather in Boston, according to Airport Manager Chris Kreig.
A flight later in the day from Plattsburgh to Punta Gorda, Fla., was also delayed about two hours.
Anthony LaVigne, superintendent of the Essex County Department of Public Works, said his crews were out pre-treating and pre-sanding roads on Monday “in anticipation of what we might get.”
That also involves working on roadside snowbanks that were interfering with drainage so standing water could run off the highways and streets.
“Ice conditions will be worse, so wherever it’s wet, you’re going to get slippery surfaces,” LaVigne said.
Email Denise A. Raymo: email@example.com