December 24, 2022 — Officials in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties are warning people to avoid unnecessary travel as snow and high winds from the lake’s effects continue to hit the area.
Jefferson County, which has seen the heaviest snowfall, has issued a complete travel ban and a state of emergency. According to a county press release, “This means only limited travel that is essential to the protection and preservation of life and/or property.”
The Jefferson County Sheriff reported Saturday morning that between 75 and 100 vehicles were abandoned on the road or had people still inside them. Officers were working to take stranded motorists to warm shelters.
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Jefferson County and western St. Lawrence County, forecasting gusts of 35 to 50 mph.
Lawrence County declared a state of emergency until noon Saturday, prohibiting movement. Visibility is poor and road conditions are dangerous.
Lewis County was downgraded from a travel ban to a travel advisory on Saturday morning.
Officials have urged residents to refrain from unsafe travel for holiday gatherings and instead stay home.
Jefferson County was also where residents experienced the most blackouts in the area. As of Saturday morning, approximately 4,000 National Grid customers were without power. National Grid said the company’s crews are battling “dangerous” blizzard conditions, especially in the Watertown area, as they work to repair downed power lines.
Jefferson County has opened warming shelters at Adams Fire Station, Henderson Fire Station, North Pole Fire Station, Chaumont Fire Station, Cape Vincent Fire Station, and Sackett’s Harbor Station.
In Franklin County, 1,125 customers lost power Sunday morning.
The powerful storm is expected to continue bringing lake-effect snow to the region, with more than 2 feet in Jefferson County through Sunday and another 6 inches to 2 feet in Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, according to the National Weather Service. of snow is expected. .