SARANAC LAKE — The weather outside in the Tri-Lakes was terrible on Friday as schools in the area were closed for the day and many residents and visitors went outside.
People were seen crammed into Saranac Lake, shoveling, blowing and plowing inch by inch of thick wet snow from their cars, driveways and sidewalks. While the snow eased for a few hours in the afternoon, the flakes started falling in earnest again by nightfall.
A winter storm warning remains in effect for the Tri-Lakes through 1 p.m. today, according to the Burlington, Vermont-based National Weather Service. As of Friday’s press time, portions of the Tri-Lakes had already accumulated more than a foot of snowfall. The Weather Service predicted 8 to 16 inches of snow could fall over the course of the storm, with a possible 16 to 24 inches in some localized parts of the northern Adirondacks.
School districts around the Tri-Lakes are closed Friday — including Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Long Lake and Ausable Valley counties, as well as St. Agnes School in Lake Placid and St. Bernard’s School in Saranac Lake — Many schools are announcing their closure online on Thursday. Local colleges, including Paul Smith’s College and North Country Community College, were also closed. Essex County suspended all of its bus services ahead of the winter storm.
More than 10 inches of snow had accumulated late Friday afternoon at Whiteface Mountain Ski Center in Wilmington, according to Darcy Norfolk, communications director for the state’s Olympic Regional Development Authority. Mount Van Hoevenberg, where ORDA hosted the IBSF World Cup skeleton races on Friday, had counted more than 12 inches of snow. Norfolk said the snow accumulation had grown to 14 inches by the start of Race 1 of the women’s skeleton late Friday afternoon. World Cup bobsleigh action continues today and Sunday.
ORDA is also hosting the NENSA Eastern Cup at Mount Van Hoevenberg’s Nordic Center this weekend, and Norfolk said many of the more than 350 participants trained on Friday.
As of 3 p.m. Friday, about 12 inches of snow had accumulated at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Center, according to Tyler Dezago, the VIC Trails and Facilities Coordinator. He said the staff had been “clean away” on the trails, but he didn’t see many skiers in the fresh powder. He saw about six skiers in the VIC main building throughout the day.
“I think the streets keep people away.” Dezago said, adding that he’s hoping for more snow and skiers today.
The Weather Service warned the heavy, wet snow could cause power outages, and the winter storm had left people in several Tri-Lakes communities without power throughout Friday. NYSEG – which provides power to some towns in Franklin and Essex counties – reported hundreds of customers without power in Jay and Wilmington early Friday night, with a handful of customers without power in Keene. National Grid – which supplies electricity to many communities in the counties of Franklin and Essex – reported around 40 customers in the city of Franklin were without power throughout the day, with a handful of customers in the city of St Armand losing power later in the afternoon .