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Floodwaters rising in some places, ebbing in others

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Flooding in St. Lawrence County, depending on the area, is becoming better, getting worse or staying about the same.

“I’m getting mixed reports,” county Emergency Services Director Michael J. LeCuyer said.

While some flooded areas of the Oswegatchie River appeared to be receding, in Gouverneur for example, the water was up Thursday in downstream sections in the town of DeKalb near Richville. Other areas appeared improved, with some roadways, such as Route 58 at Route 184 in Pope Mills, reopened by the state Department of Transportation.

Black Lake is expected to remain high for at least a week because of its size, Mr. LeCuyer said. “There’s not a whole lot of change there,” he said.

Overall, the Oswegatchie is starting to recede and stabilize, said Julie A. Smith-Galvin, spokeswoman for Brookfield Renewable Energy, which operates a series of hydroelectric projects on rivers in the county. “We’ll continue to watch everything,” she said.

County roads and bridges that remained closed Thursday afternoon included County Route 15 in Rensselaer Falls, Bay Road Bridge in Fowler, Days Mill Road Bridge in Hopkinton, County Routes 3 and 7 in the town of Rossie and a portion of County Route 10 there.

In Gouverneur, residents of 40 apartments at Cambray Court, a complex mostly for senior citizens, remained evacuated. They were sleeping on cots in Cambray’s community room, at Kinney Nursing Home or with friends and family. If the Oswegatchie continues to recede, they might be allowed to go home today.

The St. Regis River also is starting to recede while the Raquette is beginning to rise. “We’re just seeing numbers come up there but we’re not expecting anything unusual,” Ms. Smith-Galvin said.

Brookfield has dropped emergency action plans for the South Edwards dam and Hogansburg dam in Franklin County. The South Edwards dam was never in jeopardy, but when the water reached a certain point, Brookfield activated the first step of its emergency procedure, Mr. LeCuyer said.

Residents should put safety first when approaching high water, Ms. Smith-Galvin said. “These are very powerful rivers, especially when they’re flowing like this,” she said.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the north country Tuesday because of the flooding.

Mr. LeCuyer has asked fire departments and municipal officials to compile and submit damage assessments in the event the county meets the baseline for disaster assistance. He is looking for the number of flooded basements and evacuations, and the extent of first-floor flooding.

“The state wants numbers,” he said.

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