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Clearing Route 86

Volunteers cut up and clear a tree off of state Route 86 between Ray Brook and Lake Placid Friday morning, amid high winds. 

High winds and rising water levels led to floods, downed trees, broken utility poles, closed roads and hundreds of people without power across the North Country on Friday morning.

Essex County declared a state of emergency and urged people to stay off roads until further notice, with the exception of “essential personnel.”

At 11 a.m. Friday, the county Office of Emergency Services reported 57 road closures, including parts of state Route 9N between Keene and AuSable Forks, and 600 locations without power.

Essex and Hamilton were among 11 New York counties for which Gov. Andrew Cuomo also declared a state of emergency, deploying 200 members of the state National Guard as well as the State Emergency Operations Center to help localities.

Essex County’s 911 trunk lines were down, so 911 calls were being rerouted to neighboring Clinton County Emergency Services, according to an Essex County press release.

The town of North Hudson declared its own state of emergency due to flooding on the Schroon River, mobilizing all town personnel. The state Department of Environmental Conservation used an airboat to evacuate several residents stranded by flooding in North Hudson, according to the Essex County release.

Meanwhile in Franklin County, utility crews and firefighters were still responding to a steady stream of trees falling on power lines after noon.

Many of the areas that flooded are along the east and west branches of the AuSable River. The river peaked at 11.5 feet and had receded to 11.27 feet, according to county Emergency Services.

According to Keene Valley resident and Lake Placid News columnist Naj Wikoff, when he got home Thursday night, Beede Road in Keene was completely flooded as well as state Route 73 in the Marcy Field area of Keene Valley.

Multiple roads throughout Jay, Upper Jay, Lake Placid, Moriah, Schroon, Westport, North Hudson, Crown Point, Lewis and Essex were closed.

At 10 a.m., Essex County Emergency Services Director Don Jaquish said his office and crews were “overloaded at this moment.”

“We’re just having a lot of issues right now,” he added.

Because Essex County was put under a state of emergency, all government offices were closed and early voting at the Public Safety Building in Lewis was canceled for the day.

It wasn’t just Essex County, though. The south end of Franklin County was also hit hard, not so much by flooding as by wind knocking trees onto power lines.

The Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department responded to multiple calls of downed trees on power lines on state Route 3, Bartlett Carry Road and Hoel Pond Road.

Weather spotters’ unofficial rainfall measurements from the prior 24 hours showed Elizabethtown, Tupper Lake, Schroon Lake, Keene Valley and Ticonderoga getting more than 3.5 inches of rain. Parts of Vermont got even more, topping off with 6.56 inches at Underhill Station in Lamoille County.

River Road in Tupper Lake, on the Raquette River, is typically one of the first places in that town to flood, but River Road resident Dan McClelland said he hadn’t seen any flooding as of Friday morning.

By mid-morning, snow was falling in Saranac Lake, the first of the season in town, not just on the mountains. Trees came down on power lines in multiple areas such as Old Military Road and by Upstate Auto on Old Lake Colby Road. Later there was a report of trees on power lines behind the Saranac Lake Shopping Center on Lake Flower Avenue.

In Bloomingdale, a utility pole snapped and lines came down, according to an email and pictures from Vermontville resident Lester Parker.

Around 9 a.m., Enterprise Publisher Catherine Moore photographed volunteers cut up and remove a downed tree blocking state Route 86 between Ray Brook and Lake Placid.

North Country Community College canceled classes in Saranac Lake, and the USA Luge national championships at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid were called off for the day.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise Managing Editor Peter Crowley and staff writer Aaron Cerbone contributed to this report.

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