The travel ban and state of emergency declared Saturday afternoon in St. Lawrence County remains in effect, as Ice Storm 2013 enters its second day.
Several inches of sleet and freezing rain pelted the North Country overnight, on top of a thick coating of ice that had covered power lines, trees and roadways Saturday, creating dangerous driving and setting the area up for more power outages.
“Citizens are reminded that the State of Emergency is still in effect and all roads are closed except for emergency vehicles,” Massena Police Chief Timmy J. Currier reminded residents this morning.
More freezing rain is expected for much of today and the National Weather Service has issued an Ice Storm Warning until 7 p.m. tonight. For current forecasts for your community, visit the NorthCountryNow.com Weather Page.
“This winter weather event is resulting in significant ice accumulations on trees and power lines,” said Sheriff Kevin Wells Saturday. “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.”
National Grid says it has marshaled the largest contingent of electric line workers, tree trimmers, damage assessors and other support personnel since the 1998 ice storm as ice continues to cover the North Country. The workforce being mobilized in the northern parts of the state will be the largest since the 1998 ice storm, and will include more than 850 electric line and forestry workers.
After St. Lawrence County officials declared a state of emergency, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued a winter ice storm emergency for the North Country early Saturday evening and activated the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to respond to the winter ice storm that has brought significant icing caused by freezing rain.
“I have directed state agencies to take all necessary actions to be prepared to respond to the expected icy conditions, and we will actively monitor the storm as it begins to hit the state. I urge New Yorkers in affected communities to use common sense, avoid traveling, and stay out of harm’s way until the storm has passed and conditions are safe.”
Said Sheriff Wells, “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.”
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.