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This weekend in the Adirondacks

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This is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack with your look at outdoor recreation conditions around the Adirondacks for this weekend.

Be prepared for cold, wet weather this weekend and remember that hypothermia is a threat even when air temperatures are in the 40s, especially in wet weather.

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Reported by

John Warren
Adirondack Correspondent

A significant warm-up and rain forecast for this weekend will bring rapid snow melt and runoff, which will increase the potential for flooding – especially in small streams and poorly drained areas.

Flooding from ice jams will be possible in areas that are traditionally prone to ice jam floods and river and stream crossings that may be easy to cross today or tomorrow morning, may be impassible on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Trails, parking lots, and other access points are very icy everywhere, a situation that is likely to worsen with warmer days and freezing nighttime temperatures this weekend. Traction devices will be necessary on all hikes.  The recent ice storm in the Northwestern part of the Adirondacks, and heavy winds elsewhere have left blowdown on trails, especially lesser used trails.

It’s been a strange year for snowcover. While much of the interior of the Northeast, including Vermont and Northern New York, is in need of snow, the Atlantic Coast, Midwest and lake effect areas to our west are seeing plenty.  Unfortunately, those heavy lake effect snows did not reach into the Adirondack Park, with the exception of the western Adirondacks say, west of a line from Cranberry Lake and Wanakena through the Stillwater Reservoir to Old Forge, which picked-up about 6 inches Tuesday and has about 8-10 inches of snow on the ground now. Areas east of that line have less snow, in general 4 to 6 inches at lower elevations.

There is about a foot of snow at higher elevations in the High Peaks, but the lakes and areas above tree-line are windswept and icy. Expect to need snowshoes above about 3,000 feet and in wind-blown areas where snow is deepest.

There have been several reports of people falling through the ice, including on Lake George and the outlet of Avalanche Lake. Conditions will be very wet and/or slushy this weekend and ice conditions will deteriorate considerably on Saturday. Lake George has now skimmed over, but should not be considered safe this weekend.

Most of the region’s downhill resorts will be open this weekend, although the weather will hamper conditions. Whiteface and Gore both are reporting more than 70% of their terrain open today, McCauley and Oak have about 60% of their terrain open. Big Tupper still has not opened, and you’ll want to call ahead to Hickory and Mount Pisgah.

Cross country ski conditions have declined. Mt. Van Hovenberg is currently open, but conditions in the High Peaks region are thin, and may not last to Sunday. There is no skiing to speak of at Dewey or the Tupper Lake trails, but there are still good conditions at the Paul Smith’s VIC. Better bets for cross-country this weekend are Garnet Hill and Lapland Lake which may have enough base to survive this weekend’s rains. Another good opportunity this weekend would be the trails at Fern Park in Inlet, which are being groomed. The only backcountry skiing worth recommending is Newcomb Lake Road and in the western Adirondacks west of that line from Cranberry Lake and Wanakena through Stillwater Reservoir to Old Forge.

The only snowmobiling that can be recommended in the Adirondacks is in the town of Webb, where trails remain in good to fair condition. From there you’ll want to travel north and west toward deeper snow.

Finally this week, the snowcover and ice on lakes will change dramatically by Tuesday, so use extreme caution and beware of exposed obstacles while skiing, icy conditions everywhere, and the possibility for thin lake ice as conditions change throughout the weekend.

Those are the local outdoor conditions in the Adirondacks for this weekend, for North Country Public Radio, this is John Warren from the Adirondack Almanack, online at www.AdirondackAlmanack.com.

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