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Tuesday temperatures break record high for date in Massena

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MASSENA - It may have been four days into December, but there was hardly a winter coat in sight.

Record high temperatures were broken throughout the north country Tuesday.

According to the National Weather Service:

n Massena hit a record high of 67 degrees, beating 1982’s 63 degree record.

n Watertown hit a record high of 69 degrees, beating 1982’s 63 degree record.

n Lowville hit a record high of 63 degrees, beating 1982’s 61 degree record.

“Your average high should be 40 degrees,” Buffalo NWS meteorologist James A. Mitchell said of Watertown. “That’s about a 29 degree difference.”

Some local residents were dismayed by the high temperatures and would have preferred more seasonal weather as we move into the winter months.

“We want cold weather, we want snow and we want Santa to come,” Potsdam resident Tony F. Woods said. “It’s Christmas-time.”

Others welcome the respite from the snow and frigid temperatures.

“I liked it because I got to walk outside lightly dressed, and I got to open my windows and let fresh air in,” Massena resident Timothy J. Belile said.

Those with farms and livestock were both hurt and helped by the warm temperatures. Brasher resident Phil J. Furnace, who owns about 50 beef cows, said the thawed earth combined with the rains creates a mess of the fields. However, there is an upside to warmer weather for farmers.

“It’s nicer when you don’t have to go out in 30 degrees to feed the cattle,” Mr. Furnace said.

According to Mr. Mitchell, a high pressure ridge sat over the area for several days, trapping cool air in Canada and warm air in the U.S. However, the warm weather did not stay for very long.

“Tomorrow will be a really rude awakening for people who really don’t want to see the cold,” Mr. Mitchell said on Tuesday. “We’ll go from early September back to December overnight.”

As the jet stream makes its way eastward, cold air from Canada will shift down over the border, dropping temperatures into the 30s on Thursday and the lower 40s over the weekend. Snow showers are expected south of Watertown and southeast of Lake Ontario, but Mr. Mitchell said significant accumulation is not expected.

Snow showers also are expected throughout St. Lawrence County, according to Burlington NWS meteorologist Michael J. Muccilli.

Rain will replace most of the snow into the weekend.

“There’s a storm system coming from the west, bringing in a mix of rain, snow and sleet,” Mr. Muccilli said.

He said the rest of the month is looking warmer than average for St. Lawrence County, although not nearly as warm as Tuesday.

That prediction is not the same for Jefferson and Lewis counties, however.

“We’re probably going to be above average for the next 10 days, but temperatures will probably average out later in the month,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Staff writer Tim Fenster contributed to this report.

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