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December 22, 2013

Big storm disrupts North Country

State of emergency in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties

PLATTSBURGH — Officials declared states of emergency in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties Saturday afternoon as freezing rain coated much of the region in ice.

“It is predicted that this storm will be a category 4 out of 5, which could lead to significant power outages lasting up to five days,” a news release from Essex and Clinton county officials said. “The ice will leave a significant amount of coating on tree limbs, with little melt, which would result in power outages.” 

“You’re looking at a half an inch to an inch” of ice accumulation, National Weather Service Meteorologist Michael Muccilli said Saturday.

The hardest-hit areas would be the northern portions of Clinton and Franklin counties, with Essex getting the mildest of the storm, he said.

For many, this weather event has brought back memories of the 1998 Ice Storm, when as much as 4 inches of ice blanketed the region.

“I remember ‘98, and it wasn’t very good,” Dave Pickering said at Ace Hardware in Champlain as he paid for starting fluid for his generator.

His wife, Mickey, had stocked up on food and was home baking in the event that ice might disrupt power.

“Being cautious,” the Champlain man said of their preparations.

In the parking lot at the strip mall on Route 11, motorists hacked at ice-sheathed windshields with scrapers, shoppers negotiated the slushy pavement with care, heading for Ace, Price Chopper and other stores for storm supplies. 

‘STAY OFF ROADS’

On Saturday evening, emergency-response authorities spoke via conference call with New York State Commissioner of Homeland Security, Jerry Hauer to discuss the possible use of state resources should they be needed.

“It is imperative that people stay off the roads during this emergency situation — the roads will continue to worsen, and our focus needs to be on restoring potential widespread outages throughout the area,” Essex County Director of Emergency Services Donald Jaquish said. 

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