January 12, 2014

North Country watches for flooding

Before rain, warming weather brought ice that caused accidents

PLATTSBURGH — Saturday’s warming weather brought iced roadways and flooding concerns to the North Country.


The National Weather Service on Saturday issued a Flood Watch for all of Vermont and much of Northern New York, including Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties. With as much as an inch of rain forecast for parts of Essex County, emergency officials were on alert, keeping an eye on area rivers.

However, as of Saturday afternoon no flooding had been reported. Essex County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish said an ice jam in the East Branch of the AuSable River in Jay was being monitored but hadn’t caused any problems yet. Still, he was cautious.

“You can’t predict what the ice jam will do,” he said.

According to the Weather Service, as the rain accumulates overnight, local street flooding is possible because of ice- and snow-covered drains. Service meteorologists also warned that ice jams can occur suddenly, with broken jams quickly releasing water, flooding areas downstream. The Flood Watch continues through Sunday evening. 

In Malone, Franklin County Communications Supervisor Jaime Gratton said he hopes that the Salmon River stays in its banks. 

“It’s all going to depend on if the ice moves and if it stays warm,” he said. 

Clinton County reported no flooding Saturday.


Earlier Saturday the problem was ice, not water.

Interstate 87 between exits 34 and 39 was closed for more than two hours following numerous accidents as vehicles skidded on morning ice.

Near Exit 36, a tractor-trailer accident had closed both northbound lanes, Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day said at about 9:20 a.m.


The North Country had warmed to above-freezing temperatures through Friday evening and overnight, but ice still formed.

The roadway skating rink materialized at about 6 a.m., Day said. 

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