March 12, 2014

North Country braces for Winter Storm Vulcan

Weather Service predicts 10 to 20 inches of heavy snow


---- — PLATTSBURGH — As much as 20 inches of snow today and Thursday had North Country folks stocking up on Tuesday.

“Water, sliced meats, stuff for meals,” Village Meat Market cashier Amanda Therrien ticked off the groceries flying out the door of the Willsboro store. “The necessities, in case they get snowed in.”

As of 5 p.m., the gas pumps hadn’t been that busy, she said.

“But I’m sure they will be by the end of the night.”

Willsboro was taking the forecast for Winter Storm Vulcan seriously.

“They already canceled school,” Therrien said.

And on Wednesday, Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School also canceled classes for today.


Tuesday night, the National Weather Service in Burlington fine-tuned the winter storm warning that had shaped up on Monday, predicting 10 to 20 inches of heavy snow for the northern Adirondacks, the Champlain Valley and much of Vermont.

Vulcan was expected to arrive with light snow early this morning, intensifying in the afternoon and continuing until about 8 p.m. Thursday.

The heaviest snowfall, at a rate of an inch or 2 an hour, was slated for this afternoon on through the night into early Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said.

Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish and Clinton County Emergency Services Director Eric Day said they were monitoring the storm, taking part in conference calls with several other counties and agencies.

Jaquish said if the storm is extremely severe they will open the Essex County Emergency Operations Center at the County Public Safety Building in Lewis.

“We’re ready to react to what might come,” Day said.

He said if possible, people should stay home during the heaviest periods of snowfall. If you do need to venture out, leave early and take your time, he said.


“Everybody’s talking about it,” Chelsea Peete said from the Stewart’s Shop in Rouses Point on Wednesday afternoon, “about how much (snow) we’re going to get.

“Some people don’t think we’re going to get it all that bad.”

But they were still buying staples, just in case, she said.

She was ringing up lots of milk, bread “and definitely gas.”

At Mountain Mart in Altona, business was pretty steady, team member Shawne Sweet said.

They’d just about sold out milk in the gallon size but still had a supply of milk in quarts, orange juice, chocolate milk and half-and-half. 


In the City of Plattsburgh, Public Works Superintendent Mike Brodi was preparing for the onslaught.

“We just got another 200 tons of salt in last week, so we’ve got plenty,” he said.

Brodi said full crews would be on duty from about 10 p.m. today to midday Thursday to clear and salt roads.

“We will have a full-court press during the height of the storm because we’ve got to get those roads clear for Thursday morning,” he said.

The city will turn on the parking-ban lights today, reminding motorists to get their vehicles off the streets between midnight and 6 a.m.

Mayor James Calnon said the city appreciates cooperation from motorists.

“If they can help us out and get their cars out of the roads as soon as possible, we would really appreciate it, because it will help us stay ahead of the storm,” the mayor said.


Franklin County may not be hit as hard as other parts of the region.

John Bashaw II, deputy director of Franklin County Emergency Services, said weather-service personnel were “treating this like a typical winter storm, nothing special. They said we could get 10 inches of snow, if that.

But more rain than snow in his county could raise concerns about flooding since the county’s usual vulnerable spots along the Salmon River and Saranac Lake are still frozen, Bashaw said.

“It’s going to be a sloppy, wet mess, beginning (tonight) in the whole northern part of the state,” he said. “But most of it will be in Clinton and Essex counties. 


Vulcan was expected to bring winds from the north at 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Wind chill was forecast at zero to minus 20 degrees, the Weather Service said.

Visibility could be reduced to about a quarter mile, with blowing and drifting snow.

In Willsboro, in the midst of ringing up another sale, Therrien planned to buy her own necessities just before going home Wednesday night.

She has a generator at home, so she’d be ready.

“We always have extra gas.”


Watch for Tout video updates of the storm by Staff Writer Felicia Krieg on the P-R homepage: