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High winds blow through St. Lawrence County

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POTSDAM - Winter is back with a vengeance.

Whipping winds resulted in scattered power outages throughout the day in the Colton area and knocked a barn to the ground Thursday afternoon in Buckton in the town of Stockholm.

Meanwhile, lake-effect snow created dangerous driving conditions and school closures throughout Jefferson and Lewis counties Thursday, just a day after temperatures cracked an all-time high in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

Top wind speeds in the area by Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service:

n 51 mph in Potsdam at 5 a.m.

n 54 mph in Massena at 11:11 a.m.

Strong winds wrecked a barn on Haack Road in Buckton on Thursday afternoon, leaving several animals temporarily trapped inside.

Seven cows, three pigs and some chickens were inside the structure when it tumbled down, Brasher-Winthrop Fire Chief Patrick M. Kowalchuk said. No humans were injured, Mr. Kowalchuk said. All of the animals escaped alive, though two of the cows may have been struck by debris, he said.

Twenty-two volunteers, along with neighbors and friends, helped to rescue the animals, Mr. Kowalchuk said.

He was not able to confirm ownership of the barn, which he said may have been leased. The structure appeared to be of “fairly new construction,” he said.

National Grid was reporting approximately 50 customers in the Joe Indian Pond area were without power Thursday evening and less than five customers in the Helena area were also without power.

But while the wind was blowing in northern St. Lawrence County there were only brief snow showers, a far cry from the situation in the Watertown area.

“There’s a band of pretty heavy lake-effect snow over Jefferson and Lewis counties,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jonathan Hitchcock, Buffalo, said Thursday.

He said the band should have moved south by early this morning, but some of the lake-effect snow in Oswego County may clip southern Lewis County.

He predicted snowfall to range from 5 to 9 inches in Jefferson County and 7 to 14 inches in Lewis County.

Temperatures will continue to drop into the weekend. More lake-effect snow is expected Saturday when the band returns.

The weather was looking much different just the day before, however.

In Massena, the mercury rose to 63 degrees Wednesday, breaking 1988’s record of 49 degrees.

“It was a pretty significant record, said Brooke O. Tabor, National Weather Service meteorologist in Burlington, Vt. “It’s very unusual to have the temperature we had on one day, then a strong cold front the next.”

He noted that the gusty southwestern winds took down tree limbs and power lines in St. Lawrence County.

Snow showers are predicted for the remainder of the week.

“We’re back to normal winter conditions,” Mr. Tabor said. “Temperatures will probably be in the teens (Friday) and below zero for Saturday.”

Staff writer Roger DuPuis contributed to this story.

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