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St. Lawrence County Characteristics

Characteristics

We begin with an overview of St. Lawrence County and its residents, nestled between the St. Lawrence River, the Thousand Islands region, and the Adirondack Mountains. This section provides information about the physical land and climate, the most recent demographics of its inhabitants, and the available housing in the County.


Location and Size

St. Lawrence County is located in Northern New York along the Canadian border. The Adirondack Mountains lie to the east, the Thousand Islands region to the south, and the St. Lawrence River to the northwest. The total land area of the County is 2,685 square miles. It comprises thirty-two towns, thirteen villages, and one city. The County Seat is in the town of Canton, which is near the geographic center of the County.

In close proximity are the Canadian cities of Ottawa and Montreal. Lake Placid, home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games, is a short drive through the picturesque Adirondack Mountains.

Interstates 81 and 87 are within easy reach, and access to ocean shipping routes is as close as the St. Lawrence Seaway. Highway 401 is just over the Canadian border; this roadway connects the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Montreal, and Windsor and continues across Canada.


Topography

Physiographic Regions

 

St. Lawrence Valley

Adirondack Foothills

Adirondack Mountains

Length

70 miles

50 miles

Approximately 40 miles

Width

22 miles

5-12 miles

Approximately 20 miles

Area

1,540 square miles

250-600 square miles

973 square miles

Elevation

158-600 ft.

600-1,000 ft.

Over 1,000 ft.

Land

Level to gently sloping; wetlands, shallow lakes, slow streams

Hills, ponds, fewer wetlands, rapid rivers, rapid streams

Mountains, marshes, bogs, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds

Ground Water

High quantity and quality

High quantity and quality

High quantity and quality

Soils

Heavy

Poor drainage

Marine clay

Lighter

Good drainage

Sandy deposits

Thin

Rock underneath

Pockets of peat

Precambrian bedrock

Special Notes

50% of County excellent for agriculture, extensive hydro-power

4 major rivers, little flooding, extensive hydro-power

County’s highest point: Mt. Matumbla 2,688 ft


Principal Bodies of Water

All of St. Lawrence County is within the watershed of the St. Lawrence River. Approximately 12% of the North American continent is drained by this system. There are numerous minor watersheds in the County, all of which run north to the St. Lawrence River. Approximately 93% of the County is drained by one of four major rivers: the Raquette, the Oswegatchie, the St. Regis, and the Grasse.

St. Lawrence County Rivers

Principal Rivers Drainage Area
(sq. mi.)
Flow
(cu. ft./sec.)
Measured at Length*
(mi.)
St. Lawrence   242,800 Massena 76
Oswegatchie 1,609 2,660 Ogdensburg 133
Raquette 1,204 2,089 Raymondville 163
Grasse 637 607 Pyrites 112
St. Regis 910 1,034 Brasher Falls 77

* Length within St. Lawrence County only

St. Lawrence County Major Lakes and Reservoirs

Black Lake

17.2

Cranberry Lake

10.7

Carry Falls Reservoir

10.1

Rainbow Falls Reservoir

1.1

Blake Reservoir

1.0


Climate

The delightful four-season weather of the North Country is an endless source of pleasure to its residents and visitors. Cold winters are offset by the gradual transition to spring, warm, sunny summers, and breathtaking autumn days. The following information describes the year-round climate found in St. Lawrence County.

Growing Season

Annual Average

163 Days

Last Spring Frost

April 30 – May 10

First Fall Frost

September 30 – October 10

Temperature
July mean 70° F 21.1°C
July maximum 100° F 37.8°C
January mean 18°F

-7.8°C

Annual mean 46°F 7.8°C
Precipitation
Annual mean 32 in. 81 cm.
Growing season 8-16 in. 20-40 cm.
Annual mean snowfall 66 in. 168 cm.

Source: St. Lawrence County Planning Department

 

The following table compares the weather in Massena, a St. Lawrence County village, with representative communities in North America. The first table, comparing temperature, is measured in degrees Fahrenheit (° F), and a dash (-) indicates that information was unavailable.

Temperature

 

Massena

New York

Montreal

Quebec

Rochester

New York

Chicago

Illinois

Stockton

California

WINTER

Maximum

 

Minimum

 

Mean

 

         27.8

 

           9.1

 

         18.5

 

              -

 

              -

 

         16.4

 

         33.1

 

         20.9

 

         47.0

 

              -

 

              -

 

         26.7

 

         55.4

 

         38.5

 

         47.0

SPRING

Maximum

 

Minimum

 

Mean

 

         55.9

 

         33.8

 

         44.8

 

              -

 

              -

 

         42.2

 

         58.4

 

         38.0

 

         48.2

 

              -

 

              -

 

         49.0

 

         72.9

 

         46.4

 

         59.7

SUMMER

Maximum

 

Minimum

 

Mean

 

         74.4

 

         53.4

 

         63.9

 

              -

 

              -

 

         68.0

 

         76.6

 

         55.8

 

         66.3

 

              -

 

              -

 

         73.3

 

         92.4

 

         59.5

 

         76.0

AUTUMN

Maximum

 

Minimum

 

Mean

 

         54.6

 

         36.0

 

         45.3

 

              -

 

              -

 

         47.6

 

         57.8

 

         39.9

 

         48.9

 

              -

 

              -

 

         53.7

 

         77.1

 

         50.1

 

         63.7

Source: St. Lawrence County Planning Department

Precipitation includes sleet, hail, etc., but the most common forms are rain and snow. The figures in the table below represent precipitation in inches and a dash (-) indicates that information was unavailable.

Precipitation

 

Massena

New York

Montreal

Quebec

Rochester

New York

Chicago

Illinois

Stockton

California

WINTER

Rain

Snow

 

          2.33

        12.00

 

          2.45

          N/A

 

          2.55

        14.20

 

          1.90

          N/A

 

          2.49

          N/A

SPRING

Rain

Snow

 

          1.55

          4.00

 

          2.45

          N/A

 

          2.45

          3.80

 

          3.30

          N/A

 

          2.45

          N/A

SUMMER

Rain

 

 

          3.88

                

 

          5.50

                

 

          1.04

                

 

          3.73

                

 

          0.07

                

AUTUMN

Rain

Snow

 

          3.95

          3.00

 

          3.17

          N/A

 

          3.53

          2.50

 

          2.60

          N/A

 

          0.87

          N/A

Source: St. Lawrence County Planning Department