A powerful storm raked through the North Country Friday carrying high winds that toppled trees into roads and utility lines, led to the closure of a state highway, triggered power outages and forced the postponement of a high school football game.
The storm caused the Tupper Lake-Massena varsity football game, slated for Friday night at Tupper Lake's Frank Tice Field, to be rescheduled for today at 3 p.m. Friday's wet, windy weather resulted in some flooding and downed power lines in St. Lawrence Country, which led to early school closures in that area and subsequently pushed the game back a day.
State Route 30 between Lake Clear and Paul Smiths was closed for nearly three hours Friday due to electric lines and trees brought down by the high winds. It was shut down around 4:15 p.m. and reopened at 7:07, according to state police.
Paul Smiths-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department member Steve Tucker said his department was called out to shut down their end of the road while Saranac Lake firefighters manned the closure at the Lake Clear end. Tucker said his department also handled a report of a tree on the power lines along state Route 86 across from Camp Gabriels around 4:30 p.m.
As Tucker spoke with the Enterprise, around 8 p.m., power was out at the Paul Smiths fire station.
"There's three (National Grid) trucks at the substation in Gabriels," he said. "I think the whole town of Brighton is affected."
Saranac Lake firefighters responded to four storm-related calls between 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Firefighters were called to a report of a tree blocking state Route 3 by the Second Pond Boat Launch, a snapped utility pole on state Route 30 near the dump road in Lake Clear, and two reports of trees on power lines on state Route 186 near Donnelly's Corners.
Firefighters cleared trees when they could, said village Fire Driver John Derby. At the locations where utility lines were involved, they stood by until National Grid crews arrived on scene, he said.
Saranac Lake fire drivers also dispatched Blooming-dale Volunteer Fire Department members to four wind-related calls Friday. The first was a report of a tree on the power lines on River Road just after 4 p.m., followed later by two calls for trees on power lines on the Tyler Road in Vermontville. At 8:30 p.m., Bloomingdale volunteers were sent back to Vermontville for a report of trees on the power lines on French Road.
In Lake Placid, firefighters responded to four calls related to the storm. Volunteers went to Cascade Road, near Recycle Circle Lane, for a tree on utility lines; a tree across the road on Mirror Lake Drive; a tree blocking Northwood Road by Cobble Hill Road; and a tree and utility pole on fire on Morningside Drive. Firefighters cleared the trees that were blocking the roads or stood by at the scene of the utility line-related calls until village electrical department crews showed up, according to a fire department spokesman.
The Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department reported one call tied to the high winds. Firefighters went to North Little Wolf Road for a tree on the power lines with primary lines on the ground. Volunteers secured the scene until village Electric Department workers arrived.
The storm brought wind gusts of up to 60 mph, according to National Grid, the electricity company for much of upstate New York. It announced around 4:30 p.m. that its crews had restored service to about 12,000 of its 18,000 customers affected by the storm, which swept across the state from west to east Thursday night and Friday. As of 8:30 p.m. Friday, National Grid was reporting 4,000 customers without power in the state.
"The hardest hit areas remain in Western New York, particularly northern Erie County, portions of Niagara County and regions just to the east," the company said. "Also, significant interruptions have been experienced in the St. Lawrence River valley areas in Northern New York."
The company expected to have the vast majority of interruptions restored by Friday night but anticipated that a small number of isolated outages may not have service until today, particularly in harder-hit areas in the western and extreme northern portions of the state.
Enterprise Managing Editor Peter Crowley and Senior Sports Writer Lou Reuter contributed to this report.