Ice storm kinder to North Country than expected

BEN ROWE/STAFF PHOTOIce-covered brambles guard the Samuel de Champlain monument in downtown Plattsburgh Sunday. Even as the rainfall let up, city streets, signs and sidewalks remained coated in the aftereffects of the weekend ice storm. 

PLATTSBURGH — Mother Nature appears to have taken pity on the North Country as most of a forecast ice storm missed the region.

Aside from a couple minor car accidents and a few branches down, Clinton County had a quiet Sunday, according to the county’s dispatch, while Franklin and Essex counties had no accidents.

Other parts of the state were hit harder, with a New York State Electric and Gas news release saying that more than 23,000 customers were without power as of noon Sunday.

Most of those customers were mostly in Western New York.

Essex County had 244 people customers without power as of 2:30 p.m.

Forecasts on Friday and Saturday warned area residents of a potential major storm, bringing back memories of the devastating ice storm of 1998.

That year, in early January, the region was coated with several inches of ice over several days causing major damage to trees, powerlines and other infrastructure.

Parts of the area were without power for more than three weeks.

As forecasts spread about the potential for more ice this weekend, area residents flocked to stores to purchase, food, water, batteries, candles, fuel, road salt and other items.

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman said he too worried about a repeat of 1998. 

“The region was spared the full brunt of the predicted ice storm,” he said.

“Nevertheless folks rallied in preparation and a coordinated response. Doing rounds of our town, I was proud to see folks working together, like our Highway Department with our volunteer fire fighters addressing down trees.”

Cashman said the town is also concerned about possible flooding from all the rain, and will monitor rivers and streams and other potential flood spots.

"We've been in contact with DOT (state Department of Transportation) and we will keep a close eye on it," he said.

Beekmantown Supervisor Sam Dyer, who also operates a dairy farm, said the town was spared any serious damage.

"We had our generators out and ready to go, and our Highway Department trucks were all loaded and had the chains on the tires," Dyer said.

"That's the problem with ice. With snow, you can just push it aside, but with ice, you can't move anywhere. We were very lucky this time."

As of 6 a.m. Sunday, the Clinton County Office of Emergency Services was aware of several flooded or blocked culverts in the Harkness area and a flooded roadway, River Road, in the Town of Blackbrook, according to Director of Emergency Services Eric Day.

The National Weather Service also issued a flood warning for the East Branch Ausable River in Ausable Forks Sunday morning, due to the heavy rainfall Saturday night.

“If you have to travel, use extreme caution and drive slowly,” Day said.


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