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Flooding swamps Tri-Lakes region

Essex County declared a state of emergency Wednesday, urging pedestrian and vehicular traffic to use caution along area roadways because of flooding.

Severe storms dumped more than 2.5 inches of rain on parts of the North Country as of yesterday afternoon. A meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Burlington, Vermont says the Lake Placid and Moriah areas were the hardest hit.

60 roads were closed across the Adirondacks as of last night. In Moriah, a woman narrowly escaped with her life when a bridge washed out, carrying away her vehicle.

Authorities are keeping a close watch on both the AuSable River and the Hudson River.

As of about 5 a.m. Wednesday, the East Branch of the AuSable River in AuSable Forks was running three feet above flood stage. That prompted officials to cancel school for the AuSable Valley Central School District.

State Route 9N in the Essex County town of Jay was closed to all forms of traffic Tuesday night. That includes state Route 86 to Church Road - state Route 9 from Elizabethtown to North Hudson was also closed due to high waters.

Flooding has also forced officials to close state Route 86 from Lake Placid to Wilmington.

In Tupper Lake, village Clerk Mary Casagrain says water from Raquette Pond is taking over the municipal park.

That's prompted officials to place barricades throughout the park's road system. Casagrain says motorists should avoid the area, because it's tough to see frost heaves and debris that could damage vehicles.

The Hudson River at North Creek is already nearly a foot above flood stage, with waters expected to continue rising through this morning.

At Rouses Point, meanwhile, Lake Champlain was more than a foot above flood stage at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Officials are reminding homeowners near waterways to take measures to protect any property that could be exposed to flooding. They're also urging motorists to be watchful for flooded highways and roads.

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