Saturday: north country braces for rain, wind, ice

Saturday: north country braces for rain, wind, ice
Ice storm (Source: MGN)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Don’t be fooled by Saturday morning’s “can this be January?” temperatures - a powerful storm moving through the eastern half of the U.S. will bring rain, wind and a significant amount of ice to northern New York this weekend.

With bad weather on the way, churches and other groups began cancelling activities and services. See our most up-to-date list here.

What can you expect? Bad weather everywhere, but how much and what kind of bad weather is highly dependent on where you are.

The worst news appears to be upper St. Lawrence County - think Ogdensburg, Waddington, Massena, Canton, Potsdam - where an ice storm warning is in effect starting at 7 PM Saturday and running through Sunday at 1 PM.

Heavy freezing rain with “significant icing” is expected. You will see between half an inch and an inch of ice, which - needless to say - is enough ice to bring down power lines, tree limbs and make travel very, very difficult.

Timing? Rain turns to freezing rain Saturday night - the National Weather Service predicts the transition will be late evening, say, 10-11 PM - and then freezing rain overnight. It ends with a little snow Sunday afternoon.

As always though, timing can change - and this could happen earlier in the evening. We’ve seen some forecast models over the last day which show freezing rain starting earlier Saturday night. So don’t count on being able to go out Saturday evening.

Adding to the ice: wind gusts of 25-35 miles per hour will kick up Sunday afternoon. Obviously, high winds are worse when trees and power lines are coated with ice.

As for Jefferson County, a winter storm watch is in effect from 6 PM Saturday until 12 PM Sunday.

Up to half an inch of ice is possible in northern Jefferson County, and in particular along the St. Lawrence River.

And with the ice, wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour are forecast for Sunday afternoon - again, wind and ice coated trees and power lines are not a good combination.

The other thing to pay attention to is rain - between one and two inches are forecast to fall Saturday night into Sunday morning. That’s a lot of rain, and there is a flood watch for Jefferson County from 1 PM Saturday to 7 PM Sunday and a lakeshore flood watch from 11 AM Sunday to 10 PM Sunday.

Lewis County has the fewest watches and warnings this weekend, though again, one to two inches of rain could fall Saturday night.

Because of the rain, there’s a flood watch in effect for Lewis County from 1 PM Saturday through Sunday evening. Low-lying areas in Lewis County and the Black River could see flooding.

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