Lake and river communities battle winds and waves as the storm surges

Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 5:37 PM EST
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CAPE VINCENT, New York (WWNY) - Wind and waves- a unique combination of elements that only a handful of communities in the North Country find themselves fighting as the fifty mile an hour winds created waves more than four feet high.

The waves were angry Friday in Cape Vincent.

“The wind is a huge factor off the lake in this particular area. I mean, the wind is relentless right now, it’s 50 miles an hour,” said Bill Pond, Highway Superintendent for the Town of Cape Vincent.

The winter storm created a set of conditions unique to lake and river communities. High speed winds off the water whipped Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence into a frenzy.

“The biggest thing is there is no break on the entire lake that’s going to slow that wind down. The waves do crash up on the road, they bring rocks and debris,” said Pond.

Fourteen miles down river, the Village of Clayton is also having to battle the break of the waves.

“We get that storm surge we have a bridge to Washington Island we kind of watch. Try to keep an eye on, making sure that road doesn’t get flooded out or washed out,” said Terry Jones, Highway Superintendent for the Village of Clayton.

The Clayton Department of Public Works deals with other hot spots as well.

“Down by Centennial Park you may get a little over spray. Especially today with the forty, fifty mile an hour winds,” said Jones.

Both highway superintendents say the timing is another added challenge as the winter weather is hitting the North Country right on the holiday weekend.

“We all know what we signed up for. I mean, sometimes you get a green Christmas where everybody can be home. Sometimes it’s snowing and you can’t,” said Pond.

When speaking with the Cape Vincent Highway Superintendent, he says there is only one storm he can remember that carried this much anticipation: the Blizzard of ‘77.