The National Weather Service says bands of heavy lake effect snow and strong winds will continue throughout Thursday afternoon and evening.
The heaviest snows are likely to impact the Watertown area.
Interstate 81 from Watertown to Adams will be greatly impacted.
North country people were dealing with the weather as best they could.
"I was driving my son to post and the visibility was pretty much next to nothing," said Katherine Stockwell, who works at the front desk of the downtown Watertown YMCA.
"The winds were crazy and it was sleeting," Stockwell said.
"It was really windy and a little bit of snow, but when I came up to get my kid from upstairs -- now it's white," said Megan Thomas, who had just finished her workout at the YMCA.
A lake effect snow warning for Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego counties started at 10 a.m. Thursday and ends at 1 a.m. Friday in Jefferson County and at 6 p.m. Friday for the other two.
Blowing snow and snow-covered roads prompted officials in Lewis County to issue a travel advisory.
High winds forced officials to impose traffic restrictions at the Thousand Islands Bridge crossing between Clayton and Alexandria Bay. Those restrictions were lifted around 1 p.m. Thursday.
A high wind warning was in effect until 7 p.m. Thursday in St. Lawrence County.
The same warning expired at 4 p.m. in Lewis and Jefferson counties.
Bursts of heavy snowfall will occur at times, leading to quick accumulations of snowfall.
The heaviest bursts will have snowfall rates up to an inch and a half per hour.
The change in weather was so abrupt, some people feared for the worst.
The snow, combined with wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph resulted in significantly reduced visibility, at times as low as a quarter mile or less at times.
Near whiteout conditions could easily be encountered.
The weather service says motorists traveling across the region should exercise extra caution.
Roadways will be snow covered and very hazardous, with rapid changes in visibility likely in blowing snow.
A flood watch in St. Lawrence County lasts through Friday morning.
Check here for closings and delays.
Friday, December 9, 2016, Watertown, NY
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