Winter storm warnings are in effect throughout the Adirondack region Thursday afternoon, December 15 through Saturday, December 17. Heavy snowfall is expected, with accumulations of up to 18 inches or more in some areas. The journey will be difficult, road conditions can be dangerous and power outages are a possibility.
DEC environmental police officers, forest rangers, emergency management personnel and regional staff are on alert, monitoring the evolution of the situation and actively patrolling areas and infrastructure affected by severe weather. DEC coordinates resource deployments with agency partners and all available resources are positioned to assist with any emergency response.
DEC advises backcountry users to be aware of and prepare for winter conditions. Safety and preparation when winter hiking and skiing are extremely important, regardless of your physical ability or your goal. Proper preparation for winter conditions is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience. Check out the Hike Smart NY 10 Essentials for a basic packing list and winter hiking safety check.
Avoid open, exposed areas such as bare peaks during and immediately after periods of heavy snowfall and use extreme caution when driving on or near open slopes. Snow gusts can reduce visibility and create slippery surfaces, and avalanches are possible in areas with steep, unstable terrain. Snow depths vary greatly depending on location and altitude. Be prepared with appropriate traction equipment, snowshoes or skis, and trekking poles for extra balance. Visitors to the High Peaks Wilderness are reminded that snowshoes or skis are required for snow depths over 8 inches.
Even day-trippers should be prepared to spend a night in the elements. This will help avoid hypothermia in case you get lost or injured. Even successful search and rescue operations can take hours, and hypothermia can quickly set in in wintry conditions. Bring extra layers, a rescue blanket, hand and foot warmers, emergency shelter, and tools to start an emergency fire. Know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite and how to avoid them.
Backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines this weekend and always:
- Check the weather before entering the forest. If extreme cold is forecast or the weather is bad, postpone the trip.
- Be aware of the weather conditions at all times and leave the forest if the weather worsens.
- Dress appropriately in layers of wool, fleece, and other moisture-wicking materials (not cotton), including a wool or fleece hat, gloves or mittens, wind- and rainproof outerwear, and winter boots.
- Carry a daypack with the following: ice pick, food and water, spare clothing, map and compass, first aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sunglasses, sunscreen, Ensolite pads, stove and spare fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets. Hypothermia can be fatal even in temperatures above freezing. A tiny emergency “blanket” can save your life.
- Take plenty of food and water with you. Eat, drink and rest often. Being tired, hungry, or dehydrated makes outdoor adventurers more vulnerable to hypothermia.
- Know the terrain and physical abilities. Remember that driving through snow takes more time and energy.
- Never travel alone and always inform someone of the intended route and return time.
Region 5 Children’s Holiday Party Rescheduled to Monday 19th December
DEC’s Region 5 Children’s Holiday Party at the Ray Brook Regional Headquarters has been moved from Friday, December 16 to Monday, December 19 from 2:30pm to 4:00pm in anticipation of the approaching snow storm. Significant snowfall between Thursday night and Saturday could create dangerous driving conditions. The decision to postpone was made amid a wealth of precautionary measures for visiting families and their children.
At Monday’s event, attendees can meet Santa and Smokey Bear, enjoy complimentary refreshments and take part in a variety of activities including face painting and coloring. DEC Region 5 headquarters is located at 1115 NY Route 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977. The event will be held in the building’s lobby and main conference room. Please park in the parking lot directly in front of the building and enter through the front doors. The event is free and open to all members of the public. No RSVP is required.
Photo above: DEC photo.