Rain Causes Problems - And Mixed Precip & Snow Is On The WayPosted: Updated:
Thursday's warm temperatures were a welcome relief from the bitter cold, but on Friday those temperatures -- combined with rain -- were causing major problems.
In fact, Lewis County declared a state of emergency Friday due to flooding "because of the amount of resources that are being utilized right now and the additional overtime, fuel, trucks, etc. And most of all our gracious volunteers out there on the road that are out there keeping people safe," said Lewis County Fire and Emergency Management Director Robert Mackenzie.
One of the hardest hit areas is Copenhagen. Maiden Lane is just one of the roads that closed in the village.
"The crick is got so much ice in it, it can't take any more water so it's just making little dams straight down through it and that's why there's so much water backed up right here," said David Dorchester, who was helping clean up.
With nowhere for the water to go, it seeped into the United Church of Copenhagen. There 5 or 6 inches of water flooding the basement. Helpers scrambled to find a pump and firefighters came with sandbags to try to keep the water out.
"We sandbagged the back door so it quits flooding in for them and that's where the meal site is to so we try to keep them pumped out as best as we can," said Shane Henry, Copenhagen fire chief.
Copenhagen wasn't the only place dealing with flooding. Down the road, a portion of State Route 12 was closed earlier in the day because of mud across the roadway. State Department of Transportation crews worked to clear the road with heavy equipment while fire police diverted traffic.
"When you have 2,3, 4 feet of snow melting in a very short period of time, that's going to cause some transportation issues but we're very lucky to have it clear now and everybody's able to get through in a safe manner," said Sean Hennessey, DOT assistant commissioner for operations.
There's a no unnecessary travel advisory in Lewis County. The sheriff's office advised most of the county's schools to close early because of worsening conditions.
Lowville, Copenhagen, Beaver River, and South Lewis schools sent students home by late morning.
Other schools and organizations are also closed early and cancelled activities.
Meanwhile, there's a flood warning in effect for Jefferson and Lewis counties until 8:15 p.m. Friday. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office issued a travel advisory until further notice.
There is also concern as levels on the Black River are set to rise after the snow melt on the Tug Hill and rain in the Black River valley.
The National Weather Service is predicting the river will crest at 10 feet, 1 inch Sunday afternoon. Flood stage is 10 feet.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service are advising caution, particularly for motorists if they encounter water across roadways.
"Turn around, don't drown," they warn.
In Jefferson County, State Route 178 is closed at the intersection with County Route 84 after serious flooding just outside of Adams. There's flooding over and beside the roadway. Several spots along 178 were underwater as well.
Flooding forced large chucks of ice onto Route 3, which closed the highway between Hessel Road and County Route 120. The road was closed for hours Friday while crews cleaned up the mess.
Many around the area were reporting flooded streets and basements as melting snow and ice had nowhere to go because of the frozen ground.
And after the melting, comes more snow and cold.
There's a winter storm warning for Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties that starts at 4 p.m. Friday.
Temperatures are expected to drop through the afternoon, evening, and overnight and rain will turn into mixed precipitation and then into snow.
The north country could receive from 7 to 14 inches by the time the warning wraps up at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The freezing temperatures and snow could cause roads already slick with rain and floodwater to become slick and make driving hazardous.
The top photo is of the Route 12 mudslide and is from a video sent to us by the state Department of Transportation.
The lower photo is from Route 3 in the town of Ellisburg.