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Storms cause major damage in Potsdam

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Storms cause major damage in Potsdam
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A massive storm in Potsdam has left thousands of St. Lawrence County residents without power. And significant damage throughout the town is keeping the fire department and emergency crews busy. Our Cara Thomas was in downtown Potsdam where the most significant damage occurred.

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- It's going to take a major cleanup effort to get the Village of Potsdam back to normal after a powerful storm swept through the area Tuesday, tearing off roofs and taking down trees and power lines.

The rain and wind started just before 3:30 p.m. Monday. Witnesses say they didn't see any sign of a tornado, only a black cloud overhead.

Two businesses downtown lost their roofs in the storm, including ACE Hardware on Maple Street.

One resident said he saw the roof peel off the building, lift up in the air, hit a telephone pole and land in the Raquette River.

"It's one of those things, you see it happening but you don't believe it. But I was very happy nobody got hurt," Tom Macman said.

"I hope they're well insured that's going to be a big part of it. And those buildings probably aren't going to be usable for quite a while. There's a lot of water damage inside and the whole structure needs to be repaired on the roof so they're going to be out of business for a while,” said Village Administrator David Fenton

The Town and Village of Potsdam have declared a State of Emergency and has issued a No Unnecessary Travel Order until futher notice. That means that travel in the Town and Village of Potsdam is being restricted to emergency personnel and utility companies only.

As many as 6,000 people in St. Lawrence County lost power.

Winds reached more than 50 miles per hour, but the National Weather service has not said whether or not there was a tornado.

Red Cross sets up shelter

The American Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter at Norwood-Norfolk School at 7852 State Route 56 in Norwood. Anyone without power/or needs shelter may report to the Norwood-Norfolk School. If you have questions, please call (315) 268-0102.

Clarkson University statement:

9 p.m. Update

Power should remain on on the hill campus through the night, but there may be fluctuations or brief outages as crews work to restore power to the rest of the region.

Please take caution when walking under trees in the village or on campus, as they may have weak limbs due to storm damage.

All employees should report to work at their usual times tomorrow unless told otherwise by their supervisors. All classes are in session tomorrow.

Again, please TURN OFF anything you can to reduce the load on the grid for our friends and neighbors. You should also disconnect all electronic items and appliances from electrical outlets, so that they are not damaged by possible power surges. Call 315-268-2020 or watch Web for updated information.

Special thanks to the faculty, staff and students who pitched in to help this evening, and to those who are still out tending to damage on campus.

We also thank all of the police, fire, rescue, and utility crews who have assisted us today.

If you need to report an incident, please call Campus Safety & Security at 315-268-6666.

This should be the final storm update for the evening unless events dictate another communication.


All students, campers, faculty & staff are safe and sound.

A severe thunderstorm hit campus & the village late this afternoon.

Power will be out on the hill campus from approximately 6-10 p.m., so National Grid can make repairs to power lines.

Clarkson students should go to the Cheel Campus Center Barben Rooms.

Campers should go to the Cheel Campus Center building in the Cheel Commons.

A power outage has occurred on campus and the downtown area of Potsdam has sustained significant property damage. Stay indoors and away from downed lines and trees.

Cheel Campus Center is preparing to take on community members without powe,r and food will be served there later this evening.

If you are in immediate danger, need assistance in evacuation, or need to report an incident, please call Campus Safety & Security at 315-268-6666.

Students & employees should watch your cell phone for NY-Alert updates, as needed.

For updates, visit

SUNY Potsdam information

11 p.m. Update

POTSDAM, NY (07/17/2012)(readMedia)-- SUNY Potsdam will resume classes and begin to bring its operations back to normal, after a sudden severe thunderstorm led to a power outage and isolated damage to campus on Tuesday afternoon. Power has returned to 100 percent of campus.

The village and town of Potsdam declared a state of emergency following the strong storm, which hit the community around 3 p.m. on July 17. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries as a result of the storm, and SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff, students and guests are safe.

SUNY Potsdam will resume Summer Session classes on Wednesday, July 18. At this time, Thursday's Orientation session for first-year students remains on schedule. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP