Live special report: Officials urge people to stay off roads

11 a.m. live special report
Published: Dec. 24, 2022 at 11:46 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Things are a mess in northern Jefferson County and southern St. Lawrence County.

Interstate 81 northbound lanes were closed between exit 49, the LaFargeville exit, and exit 50, near Alexandria Bay. That’s because of zero visibility and an overturned tractor-trailer.

Southbound lanes were closed between the same exits because of a crash.

Those are just a couple takeaways featured during a live broadcast at 11 a.m. Saturday by 7 News anchor Jeff Cole and weather forecaster John Kubis. You can watch their report in the video above.

There are travel bans in effect for Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties and states of emergency in Jefferson and St. Lawrence.

Emergency services officials in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties say many cars are stranded and conditions make it difficult for tow truck drivers to get to them. Tow trucks are getting stuck, too. The combination is clogging highways and making them difficult to plow.

Officials say that people on the roads make it more difficult for highway crews and emergency responders to do their jobs.

Then there are the power outages. As of 11 a.m., there were roughly 2,600 customers without power in Jefferson County, most of them along the St. Lawrence River in the towns of Cape Vincent, Clayton, Orleans, and Alexandria. National Grid’s website indicates that most power could be restored by 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

There are other, scattered outages in all three counties.

Warming shelters have been set up for people who have no heat or power at the Henderson, Sackets Harbor, Cape Vincent, and North Pole fire departments.

A lake effect band has been parked over northern Jefferson and southern St. Lawrence counties. That band is expected to move south over Watertown by Saturday evening, then move further south over the Tug Hill Sunday afternoon.

Some places could record from 4 to 6 feet of snow — or more — by the time the storm wraps up Monday.

There are blizzard warnings in effect for Jefferson County until 1 p.m. Sunday and in southwestern St. Lawrence County until 7 p.m. on Sunday.

There’s a winter storm warning for Lewis County until 7 a.m. Monday and a lake effect snow warning for southeastern St. Lawrence County until 7 p.m. Sunday.