Clayton (WSYR-TV) - National Grid had sent crews to Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties in advance to brace for the calls. The forecast spelled trouble. Estimates climbed as high as 32,000 customers without power on Sunday.
Jefferson County Emergency Management Office workers estimate they took the biggest hit with outages around 3 a.m.
A shiny coating of ice greeted families in Clayton on Saturday morning. With daylight, plow operators got to work, delayed by fears that live wires brought down by the ice would be too hard to see along roadways in the dark.
By 11:30 Sunday morning the outages had dipped to 18,000, but emergency crews were only cautiously optimistic. Reports had fluctuated throughout the day as some families regained power, others would lose their lights.
During a normally busy weekend for holiday travel, families in Jefferson County were told they should avoid any unnecessary travel. The Governor declared a winter ice storm emergency.
Ice is a familiar thorn in the side of North Country residents. The storm of 1998 offered many lessons. A public information officer with Jefferson County Emergency Services said social media has helped with keeping people informed. The office set up a Facebook page, attracting roughly 80,000 views by Sunday morning, as families brace for another cold night in the dark.