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North country weather will be quite different this weekend from last

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WATERTOWN — Here one weekend, gone — well, not quite — the next.

The Christmas weekend blizzard that left nearly 4 feet of snow on the ground in parts of the north country will seem like a wintry anomaly by this weekend as air temperatures are expected to rise well into the 40s and lower 50s through the middle of next week, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

The above-average temperatures will accompany rain and snowmelt, but the Weather Service forecasts that the rainfall will be light in the Watertown area, so any flooding will be minor and localized.

Temperatures across the region will be what the Weather Service describes in its forecasters’ discussion as a “SOLID” 20 degrees above where they typically are in late December, although they may be a bit cooler across Lewis and Oswego counties.

The anticipated weather is in stark contrast to what most of the area experienced from Saturday through Monday, when snowfall totals reached well over 40 inches in and around Watertown and into southern St. Lawrence County.

Already this season, Watertown has received a total of 102.75 inches of snow, according to data collected at the city’s water filtration plant. That puts the city already receiving more total snow this season than it did in 71 of the years between 1899 and this year.

The most snow Watertown has ever received in a season is 225.3 inches in 1899-1900 — the first year for which records are available. This is followed closely by 1976-77 — which included the “Blizzard of ’77” — when an even 224 inches were recorded. The lightest snowfall year was 1982-83 when just 34.8 inches fell, or about 3 inches more than was officially recorded at the filtration plant over the weekend that preceded this past Thanksgiving.

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Roads could get icy in Central NY today as arctic blast arrives

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An blast of arctic air is likely to arrive in Central New York around lunchtime, causing icy roads and treacherous travel.

“Temperatures will rapidly plummet and quickly drop into the teens and even some single digits by sunset,” the National Weather Service said. “This will create hazardous road conditions, since any lingering moisture from this morning`s rainfall, combined with falling snow, will result in a flash freeze.”

There’s likely to be a break in the rain this morning, the weather service said, which could help dry out roads and minimize icing later in the day.

The weather service is predicting just an inch or two of snow today, but it could come just as roads are starting to freeze up. With wind gusts up to 40 mph, blowing snow could also reduce visibility.

School districts and Onondaga County have announced closures today, and County Executive Ryan McMahon has issued a travel advisory through 7 a.m. Saturday.

Winds have gusted to more than 50 mph in some parts of Upstate New York this morning. Utilities report that several thousand people are without electricity in dozens of scattered power outages.

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Meteorologists: Christmas weekend storm system ‘once in a generation type of event’

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WATERTOWN — An “incredibly powerful” winter storm system also described by meteorologists as a “once in a generation type of event” is forecast to move through the area over the Christmas holiday weekend.

High winds, rain, snow and lake-effect snow accompanied by dramatically dropping temperatures are expected to impact the region starting Friday and continue through at least Sunday, Christmas Day.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Buffalo said in a forecast discussion Tuesday that “Some of the parameters of this intense storm are climatologically ‘off the charts,’” including the potential for record-setting low barometric pressures.

The service said the deepening low-pressure system moving into the area on Friday will “easily” meet the definition of a bombogenesis in which atmospheric pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. The phenomenon, also known as a “bomb cyclone,” is relatively rare in the lower Great Lakes, according to meteorologists.

After uneventful weather Wednesday, the service says conditions will begin to deteriorate late Thursday. Thursday’s temperatures are expected to be in 40s, resulting in most precipitation falling that day as rain, although a wintry mix could be seen in some locations as temperatures begin to drop.

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Another winter storm likely to slam Upstate NY just in time for Christmas travel

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 Another messy winter storm is likely to bring snow, ice and high winds to Upstate New York just in time for Christmas weekend travel.

“The storm’s timing could not be worse,” said forecasting company Accuweather.

The storm starts off mostly as rain Thursday, and then rapidly falling temperatures late Friday could coat streets and trees with a layer of dangerous ice. High winds are also likely, too, which could cause power outages and even some flooding along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, the National Weather Service said.

Heavy lake effect snow could hit Western New York and Tug Hill over the holiday weekend.

“It could be another one of these messes where we get this ice, freezing rain and snow,” warned Mark Wysocki, New York state climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Cornell University. “We could have a lot of issues with travel and downed power lines.”

The storm reaches the Pacific Northwest tonight or Tuesday before barreling across the Rockies and the Plains, bringing blizzard conditions to the Midwest and snarling air travel in big hubs like Chicago. The weather service in Chicago is warning of blizzard conditions Thursday and Friday, and urging people to make plans for alternate travel.

“It’s going to impact a lot of people’s traveling plans, especially if they’re flying,” said Accuweather meteorologist Tom Kines.

Like last week, there are as many questions as answers about this storm’s impacts on Upstate right now, including how cold it gets and how fast, and how that will affect the breakdown of rain, snow and ice. And like last week, location and elevation will play key roles.

Even the snow still on the ground from last week’s storm could affect what happens this week: Snow pack keeps air temperatures colder, raising the odds of rain freezing as it reaches the surface.

The storm is several days away, so many of the details are still being sorted out as forecasters wait for more data. At this point, here’s the consensus of how the storm is likely to shape up in Upstate New York. Forecasts change, and this one will too, so be sure to check our weather page throughout the week.

Thursday: A low pressure system moving up the East Coast will bring “unseasonably warm and moist air into the region,” the weather service said. That moisture is likely to start as rain at lower elevations, switch over to snow Thursday night, and then back to rain Friday as temperatures rise.

Friday: Warm air surging in from that coastal system could push temperatures up to 50 degrees by Friday afternoon. Any precipitation that falls during the day is likely to come as rain. If it falls hard enough in areas with deep snow, it could lead to isolated flooding as the snow melts, the weather service said.

Winds ramp up quickly during the day, with gusts reaching 35 mph or more by Friday evening and early Saturday morning.
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Snow total tops 6 feet in parts of the north country; residents dig out Sunday

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WATERTOWN — The north country was buried in snow this weekend, with some parts of Jefferson County seeing over 70 inches of snow fall within a matter of hours.

Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul said the state is doing all it can to help get things back on track.

In a video news conference held from Buffalo, which saw similarly historic amounts of snow fall over the weekend, she said more equipment and operators are on their way north Sunday morning to help clear roads. State staff have also visited over 600 mobile home parks in western New York and the north country to check on residents and ensure their homes are kept safe, and are working through more throughout the day.

The governor originally planned to hold her Sunday news conference at the state Department of Transportation facility in Pamelia, but was unable to fly from Buffalo to Watertown due to continued poor weather and icy conditions at Watertown International Airport.

“We’re hoping to reschedule that (visit), but I just spoke to the mayor of Watertown, Jeff Smith, to talk to him about the concerns that he has,” she said.


Sunday afternoon, Mayor Smith apologized to city residents for the slow progress being made clearing city streets, saying that over 65 inches had fallen since Thursday night, and the wet, heavy snow was proving difficult to move.

“Due to the amount of wet, heavy snow that has fallen on the city our plow trucks are having difficulty pushing the snow,” he said.

He said the city’s Department of Public Works had to dedicate two crews to extricating stuck plows on Saturday night, slowing down plowing progress even more. He thanked Gov. Hochul for her quick response to the city’s request for aid, and for sending more heavy-duty state plowing equipment to help clear streets that arrived Sunday afternoon.

“Together we will get through this storm like we have in the past,” he said. “Again, I thank city residents for your patience and understanding. Thanks to the city DPW crews for their around-the-clock hard work, and we thank Governor Hochul and NYS DOT for their help.”

More snow was anticipated for Jefferson County into Monday after over three and a half feet have fallen since Thursday.

Oswego and Lewis counties bore the last of the storm Sunday, and could see more than two feet fall by Monday morning, with 40-mile-per-hour wind gusts as well — faster than any wind seen so far in this storm event.

“The band is going to hit Lewis, Oswego and far northern Cayuga counties, and thundersnow is possible,” Gov. Hochul said. “It’s kind of exciting to watch, but it’s also dangerous.”


While such snowfall isn’t atypical for the north country, the governor said this storm came early in the season and hit hard relatively quickly, dumping a heavy, wet snow that can be difficult to clear.

“When you hit 80 to 85 inches of snow over the course of just a couple days, snow events everywhere from Natural Bridge up in the north country to Orchard Park, that is one to tell your grandkids about,” she said.

Travel bans were implemented as the first of the storm hit the region Thursday night, dropping feet of snow in a narrow band that covered Dexter, the city of Watertown, Fort Drum, Carthage and parts of southern St. Lawrence County. By the time the worst of the storm was finished Saturday midday, over 72 inches of snow fell in Natural Bridge, 57.4 inches fell in Watertown, 54 inches fell on Fort Drum, 47 inches fell in West Carthage and 40 inches fell in Copenhagen, Lewis County, according to the snowfall report from the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

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National Grid gearing up for possible severe thunderstorms Wednesday

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WATERTOWN — National Grid is gearing up for possible severe thunderstorms on Wednesday.

The utility issued a notice on Tuesday that the agency has increased staffing and extended evening and overnight work shifts to prepare for the thunderstorms that are forecast to hit Central and Northern New York today.

Meteorologists are predicting strong winds with potentially damaging gusts and dangerous lightning.

“In the event of a power outage, our crews and support teams will be working for as long as needed to restore service as soon as conditions are safe,” the notice stated.

National Grid offered some reminders on how to prepare for a storm.

Keep flashlights and extra batteries on hand and make sure mobile devices are fully charged so you can stay connected in the event of an outage. For more information, visit ngrid.com/outagecentral.

If you see a downed power line, keep away from it and anything it may be in contact with. Downed lines should be immediately reported by calling National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or 911.

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Weekend storm could bring high winds, over a foot of snow to north country

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The north country is under a hazardous weather alert for a storm that could bring over a foot of snow in some places, and gusty northwest winds that could knock out power in some areas.

The National Weather Service warns that travel could be difficult to impossible. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact evening commutes today, NWS said in a winter storm watch advisory.

In St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, the NWS predicts 8 to 14 inches of snow tonight into Saturday. As the snow tapers off, Saturday night winds are forecast at 25 to 40 mph. The high winds could cause blowing snow to significantly reduce visibility across the region, weakening through Sunday morning. NWS warns the high winds could cause tree limb damage and knock out power.

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A bit of a warmup by the weekend

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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – Temperatures were in the 20s and 30s early Thursday morning, which is below average for this time of year.

It will feel more seasonable by the weekend.

Places on the Tug Hill were getting lake effect snow early Thursday. That could change to a mix of rain and snow for the afternoon.

The rest of Jefferson and Lewis counties will see dry, mostly cloudy skies. St. Lawrence County will have some freezing fog early, then mostly sunny skies.

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