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Madrid battles flooding in midst of spring temperatures

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MADRID - Madrid Volunteer Fire Chief Derek D. Kingston and his crew have been busy this week but it hasn’t necessarily been the result of having to extinguish fires.

With temperatures in the region skyrocketing, flooding in roads and basements have become an issue lately in portions of the north country.

Despite the extra workload for the department, Mr. Kingston said that the community has been fortunate thus far.

“It’s not really too bad now. The highway department has been keeping the water flowing, and it looks pretty good as time progresses,” he said. “The main thing is waiting for the ice to break through the river there and seeing if it will jam up at all.”

The National Weather Service put a flood warning in effect for Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, one that runs until 7 p.m. tonight.

Roads in Canton and Norfolk among other municipalities were closed earlier in the week but are gradually reopening.

Particular areas in Madrid that were still filled with water Thursday morning included Ruddy Road and River Street.

“We’re monitoring it on and off throughout the day seeing what the ice is going to do. A lot of snow throughout the winter and the rising temperatures create the thaw and the flooding,” Mr. Kingston said. “(Wednesday) night around the dam we did some sandbagging and stuff but we have been pretty lucky in Madrid. West Potsdam was really busy with pumping and Norwood had some as well.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Jessica Neiles noted that there was a large ice jam on the Salmon River in Fort Covington as of Tuesday night. Ms. Neiles said temperatures in the county are expected to hover in the mid 50s Friday, mid 60s Saturday and it should top out around 60 degrees on Sunday. It looks considerably higher on Monday in the upper 60s and up near 70,” she said.

“There’s going to be rain showers (Thursday night) ending (Friday) morning and then it looks dry from (Friday) right through Sunday. Then from Sunday night through Tuesday it looks like we’ll have a frontal system with several waves moving across from it. This will be across the St. Lawrence Valley and west of there, bringing a chance of showers. The best shot for precipitation looks like it will be Monday night into Tuesday.”

Madrid Town Supervisor Tony Cooper said the flooding has been persistent due to a worse than usual winter.

“We’ve definitely had some flooding issues in the community. The Grasse River is still up and we’ve had a particularly high snow total this winter. It has flooded the community park and it hasn’t receded yet. I believe with the next couple days with the high temperatures we might see it go up a little bit,” Mr. Cooper said. “We’ve had a lot more snow and the melting has definitely kept the river up quite a bit. In the last few years we’ve had very few issues with the mild winters.”

Ms. Neiles said that ice jams could be an issue for the remainder of the week. She also pointed out that there is even a slight chance of snow looking ahead at next week.

“A lot of the ice has already cleared out of rivers in the area. So where there still is ice left there is the threat for an ice jam,” she said. “It looks like as the precipitation ends on Tuesday night it could turn to snow but it won’t be any significant accumulation.”

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