Snow and Cold Weather Update for the Catskills - 1/4/2018

Expect FRIGID and EXTREMELY low temperatures and winter conditions across the Catskills this weekend. Snowshoes and/or traction devices are needed on all trails and should always be carried, now that there is at least 8" of snow across the majority of the region with deeper snowpack at higher elevations

Today's snowstorm will result in anywhere from an inch of snow to 4-5 inches of snow across the Catskills. The greatest snowfall amounts will be at the higher elevations in the eastern Catskills.

Road conditions will vary widely, as will trailhead conditions. Expect untreated roads and unplowed trailheads during the day on Thursday with improving conditions on Friday.

BE PREPARED FOR EXTREME, LIFE-THREATENING COLD TEMPERATURES STARTING THURSDAY NIGHT AND RUNNING THROUGH THE WEEKEND: The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a wind chill advisory for most of the Catskills through Saturday night with expected wind chills of up to 30 degrees below zero. This will cause frostbite to exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

This evening will be the start of a stretch of very cold temperatures and high winds that will run through the weekend. High temperatures through the weekend are forecast to be in single digits above and below zero while the low temperatures are forecast to be well below zero. Wind chills will make the entire time period feel much colder.

Temperatures and wind chills will be even lower on high mountain summits, surface of water bodies and other exposed areas. 

Should you choose to recreate this weekend, this extreme cold period requires extra preparation and allows no room for errors or mistakes. Conditions will be significantly colder and windier at higher elevations. Frostbite and hypothermia are major concerns for anyone taking part in outdoor activities.

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.

Trail Conditions: Snow and ice are present on all trails and at all elevations.

Expect Winter Conditions: Below freezing temperatures, snow, and ice are present throughout the Catskills. Snow depths range from 4 to 12+ inches, with a deeper snowpack in the highest elevations. See the NERFC Snow Page for current snow depth information. Be prepared for winter conditions. 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.

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.

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 mapstrail guides and other last minute items for purchase in the Gift Shop and through the Catskill Interpretive Center's online shop.

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