We're experiencing a short January thaw today. Expect a roller coaster of weather and temperatures this weekend. Heavy rain Thursday night and Friday are melting significant quantities of snow across the mountains, leading to localized flooding problems. Temperatures will drop Friday night with snow expected on Saturday and a return to very cold temperatures Saturday night into Sunday. Visitors should be prepared for a large variety of weather and conditions. There still is a significant snowpack on mountain summits and at higher elevations, which will freeze and become very icy by Sunday.
Forecast: Following sub-zero temperatures last week, the temperatures have moderated and snow and ice have been melting across the Catskills. Following Friday's rain, snow will move in for Saturday and on Sunday, high temperatures will struggle to reach 15 degrees.
Friday's high will be in the upper 50s to low 60s across the Catskills with rainfall throughout the day. Overnight rain will slowly transition to freezing rain as temperatures drop. Expect a low of around 23 Friday night. Saturday morning will see freezing rain and sleet transition to snow by early morning as temperatures drop throughout the day. Winds will also pick up and wind chills will likely be below zero by the end of the day Snow accumulations of 1-3 inches are expected across the region by the time the storm departs in the afternoon. Temperatures Saturday night will drop to around 0 Saturday night with continued strong winds and very cold wind chills (-17 possible). Sunday will be sunny, but very cold with a high of around 10-12 degrees across the Catskills with a continued stiff wind and very-low wind chills. Sunday night lows will be around 0 degrees.
Expect Winter Conditions: Following Friday's warm temperatures and rain, snow and cold temperatures will return. Snow and ice are present throughout the Catskills at the highest elevations. Snow depths range from 0 to 12+ inches, the most in the highest elevations. See the NERFC Snow Page for current snow information. Be prepared for winter conditions on Sunday. The use of snowshoes is warranted throughout the region and are encouraged to prevent "post-holing," avoid injuries, and ease travel on snow (Post-holing - leaving deep footprints in the snow - makes trails more difficult and more hazardous for others to use). Crampons or other traction devices should be carried and used in icy areas. Those icy areas will likely increase this weekend as meltwater and runoff freeze Saturday afternoon into Sunday.
Trail Status: All marked and officially designated hiking trails in the Catskill Park are currently open to the public. All trailheads are open, but gates may be closed for interior parking areas (see road and gate closure information below). Not all trailhead parking areas may be plowed this weekend, following Saturday's snow storm. Some trailhead parking lots may be experiencing flooding problems Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Trail Conditions: This past week's frigid temperatures had maintained snow depths and allowed the growth of ice throughout the Catskills, but there has been significant melting in the last two days. Snow depths currently increase from an no snow at the lowest elevations to more than a foot of snow at the highest elevations. In addition, ice is building on all trails. Traction devices should always be carried and will likely be required as meltwater freezes into large icy areas this weekend. Snow depths have reached levels, especially at the higher elevations, where snowshoes should be used.
Seasonal Roads and Gates: The following seasonal roads are not maintained in the winter and become impassable when snow is on the ground:
- Platte Clove Road - Indian Head Wilderness (Greene County, Town of Hunter)
- Roaring Kill Road - Indian Head Wilderness (Greene County, Town of Hunter)
- Russell Brook Road - Delaware Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Colchester)
- Mary Smith Road - Delaware Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Colchester)
- Ploutz Road - Dry Brook Wild Forest (Delaware County, Town of Middletown)
The Gates at Alder Lake (Balsam Lake Wild Forest) and Onteora Lake (Bluestone Wild Forest) have been closed for the winter season.
Weather: Always be aware of and prepared for weather conditions. Being properly prepared for the weather and conditions will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors. Check the current National Weather Service Weather Forecast. The NY Mesonet has stations in and just outside of Catskills that provide real time weather data and forecasts.
Winterize Your Car: Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order before you head out in this cold weather. Carry a survival kit (sleeping bag, blanket, extra jacket, hat, gloves, hand warmers, etc) should you become stuck with your vehicle or are unable to start it.
The Catskill Park is a carry it in, carry it out park - please be sure to take all of your trash home and be sure to Leave No Trace during your visit to the Park.
In An Emergency: Report backcountry emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and forest fires to the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-408-5850 or call 911
For More Information: Visit the Maurice D Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center located at 5096 Route 28 in Mt Tremper, NY. The Center is open everyday from 9:30 to 4:30, and until 6:30pm on Fridays. The CIC is the Visitor Center for the Catskill Park. Staff and volunteers can provide trail information and updates. The CIC carries trail maps, trail guides and other last minute items for purchase in the Gift Shop and through the Catskill Interpretive Center's online shop.