Jefferson County: State of Emergency declared - TRAVEL BAN

Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 5:13 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 24, 2022 at 7:36 AM EST
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Update: Warming centers at the Adams and Chaumont fire departments were closed at around noon on Saturday.

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Jefferson County has declared a State of Emergency and a travel ban is now in effect until further notice.

There are warming shelters set up at: Adams Fire Department, Henderson Fire Department, Sackets Harbor Fire Department, Chaumont Fire Department, Cape Vincent Fire Department and North Pole Fire Department.

Emergency officials say there are 75 - 100 disabled or abandoned vehicles on county road.

Here’s our 6pm report of the storm moving in Friday:

We were getting heavy rain for much of the morning, but around 11:30 AM, 7 News reporter Chad Charette was up at Thompson Park and watched as the wall of white swept across the city.

First, you can see Watertown and the Dulles State Office Building, then you can’t. It only took 3 minutes for the city to be swallowed up by the storm, catching people by surprise.

“This just came on so quickly. I just told them to go home even earlier,” said Robert Welden, who closed his legal practice early.

Welden let his workers go early as it is better to be safe than sorry.

“Don’t try to go out yourself. it’s going to be treacherous,” said Welden.

Drivers on city streets found themselves doing as much sliding as driving, causing problems on the Coffeen Street hill.

Other drivers settled in at the gas station to top off, hoping to make it home after work.

“I gotta work ‘til 9 tonight. So hopefully I can make it home,” said retail worker Brenda Golding.

Jacqueline Dawe works at the hospital and is fueling up in case she needs to shuttle her coworkers to work in case they can’t make it in on their own.

“We can’t get enough people home for Christmas, so we’re trying to do what we can to get our staff in safely so we can take care of our patients properly,” said Jacqueline Dawe, Vice President of Clinical Services at Samaritan Medical Center.

In Downtown Watertown, the owner of the Whimsical Pig wasn’t taking chances either and closed up early.

“It’s definitely wet and cold. It’s dropping. You can feel the temperatures dropping by the minute,” said Avery Carman.

That’s the concern tonight: not just the snow, but the wind and the dangerously cold wind chills.