State of emergency, travel ban in effect throughout St. Lawrence County due to icy conditions; extended power outages possible, sheriff says
Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 5:56 pm

A travel ban and state of emergency have been declared in St. Lawrence County for up to five days due to extremely icy weather conditions, according to the county Office of Emergency Services.

A Town of Hermon driver plows icy slush and spreads sand Saturday afternoon on County Route 19 at Trout Lake.  Photo submitted by Connie Green of Trout Lake.A Town of Hermon driver plows icy slush and spreads sand Saturday afternoon on County Route 19 at Trout Lake. Photo submitted by Connie Green of Trout Lake.“This winter weather event is resulting in significant ice accumulations on trees and power lines,” said Sheriff Kevin Wells. “Also, the limited visibility on iced up vehicles is causing a hazardous situation for not only our regular motorists but also the DPW and Highway crews trying to clean up our streets and roads.”

He continued, “Please if you do not have to travel don’t and if you do make sure your vehicle is sufficiently cleaned off and warmed up and allow sufficient time to reach your destination. Drive with caution and make sure family members know your destination and route of travel and check in upon your arrival at your destination.”

Said a prepared statement from the Office of Emergency Services, “this prohibition is necessary to ensure the safety of all county residents as well as to assist road crews and emergency responders in completing their duties.”

The ban on non-emergency travel began at 5 p.m. today and will remain in effect until further notice, officials said. The state of emergency could continue until 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 25, unless cancelled beforehand.

Wells noted the winter storm event is expected to continue until the afternoon hours on Sunday and very well may result in extended power outages, downed trees and power lines.

“Please be observant and be prepared. Let’s all have a safe holiday season,” he said.

For up-to-date weather forecasts for your community, visit the Weather Page.

In Canton, Mayor Mary Ann Ashley issued a state of emergency for the village at 4 p.m. today; it is effective through 7 a.m. Dec. 23 unless is it terminated sooner.

The state of emergency empowers all village departments and agencies to take any steps necessary to “protect life, property and public infrastructure or to provide emergency assistance.”

It also authorizes village officials to enter into emergency contracts for necessary services required to “ameliorate and remedy the emergency conditions.”

All pedestrians and vehicles should travel with care and the public shall “observe all road closing which may be in effect,” the state of emergency order says.

At SUNY Potsdam, college officials sent the following message to students, including a small number of primarily international students remaining on campus during the holiday break:

“Power outages are a very real possibility. It is safest not to travel or return to campus unless absolutely necessary.

“If you are one of the small number of students given permission to stay on campus, please follow these directions: In the event of a power outage lasting longer than one hour, go to the Bowman Commons, located in the first floor of Bowman South.

“Please use the entrance located inside the Quad. Use extreme caution when walking. If you need assistance, please call University Police at (315) 267-2222.

“All other students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take extra caution when traveling this weekend. We hope you have a happy and safe holiday.”