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High winds knock out power, down tree limbs in St. Lawrence County

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CANTON - High winds Friday knocked down power lines, tree limbs and phone lines and left more than 4,000 St. Lawrence County residents temporarily without power.

The electrical outages started mid-morning in the southwestern part of the county and moved toward the northeast throughout the day, following the movement of the storm front.

“The number of outages fluctuated throughout the day,” said Interim County Emergency Services Director Keith J. Zimmerman. “As power got restored in one place, it went out in another.”

National Grid reported at 9:15 p.m. that 3,800 customers were without power with scattered outages reported throughout the county, including a number of different outages in the Potsdam-Norwood corridor, the Parishville-Colton area and the Brasher-Winthrop region. he latest estimated time for restoring power service was listed as 7 a.m. Saturday.

Around 10:45 a.m. roughly 850 customers in the village of Canton lost power, including the Canton Central school building complex and the St. Lawrence County Courthouse. Emergency lighting was used in the Canton school hallways until power was restored.

Although power was restored to the county courthouse at about 1 p.m. state employees who work there were dismissed from work at 1:30 p.m. County employees remained on the job.

Scattered outages were also reported in Norwood, Colton, outside of Ogdensburg, Morrisown, Black Lake, Parishville and other communities.

“There’s lots of scattered damage,” Mr. Zimmerman said. “There’s no major lines down and no major concentration of damage.”

Shortly after 11 a.m., a Time Warner fiber cable line fell and blocked traffic on Route 11 near Windy Hill Storage facility between Canton and Potsdam, prompting officials to reroute cars.

Suzanne L. Burnette, Russell, was driving her Dodge van toward Canton when she drove under the line seconds after it fell, leaving her with a cracked front windshield.

“I slammed on my brakes but there was no way I could stop the van,” Ms. Burnette said. “I was terrified because I didn’t know if they were electric lines.”

In Potsdam, a fallen maple tree at 302 River St., knocked down a power line and sheared the top off a utility pole. The pole blocked the road for more than two hours as crews from Potsdam Fire Department and National Grid worked at the scene.

It was a scene repeated over and over again during the course of the day as fire departments from Waddington to Winthrop responded to reports of downed trees and power lines.

At least two separate incidents of partial roof damage occurred in Lawrenceville during Friday’s high winds.

At 923 Ferris Road, tin flew off the roof, leading to action from the town’s fire department. The department also responded to a blown down stop sign and other tin that had flown off near the Lawrenceville Baptist Church.

“We blocked traffic and closed the road down because we were afraid flying tin would hit someone. It was very dangerous,” Lawrenceville Fire chief John LaShomb Sr. said.

Power in the village of Canton was restored to roughly 900 customers close to 1 p.m. after being out for roughly two hours. Dispatchers handled several reports of wind damage to building structures including a roof blown off a structure and fire calls.

There was also a report of a sheared power pole dangling over the road bed by a bridge in the town of Russell. One person reported a trampoline blowing across Route 11 in the town of Stockholm. A trailer being pulled by a truck reportedly blew over.

Mr. Zimmerman said the situation would have been much worse if leaves were still on the trees because the limbs would have been heavier and more likely to break off. The mid 50-degree temperature and lack of rain or ice lessened the impact of the high winds.

“The tree limbs weren’t that heavy. It could have been much worse,” he said.

In Canton, the outage occurred at the State Street substation after three power lines went down. Power was restored after National Grid crews switched circuits to the Little River substation.







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