DEC commissioner issues warning; Empire State Winter Games changes plans for outdoor activities
By Mike Lynch
Dangerously cold weather is forecast to hit the Adirondacks Friday and Saturday, causing the state to issue a warning to people about recreating outside.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation sent out its advisory Thursday morning asking people to change plans if they hoped to venture into the woods.
“In the Northeast, we are no strangers to the cold, but this weekend’s weather is different and we need to take precautions when outdoors,” state DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “With wind chills reaching -50, there is a risk of rapid onset of hypothermia and frostbite. While DEC’s Forest Rangers are prepared to rescue anyone in need, outdoor adventurers are advised not to put themselves or first responders in unnecessary danger. The Adirondacks, Catskills, and our many forests, wildlife management areas, and other State Lands will still be there to enjoy and share when temperatures rise.”
A wind chill warning is in effect from 1 a.m. Friday through 1 p.m. Saturday in the Lake Placid region. The Lake Placid forecast calls for temperatures hitting minus 26, with wind chill values in the negative 40s, according to the National Weather Service.
The top of Mount Marcy could hit a low of negative 63 with wind chill values factored in, according to the National Weather Service.
Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Deputy Director Julia Goren said her organization is recommending that people be very careful, consider staying inside and definitely avoid the summits.
“It’s not safe and it puts rescuers at risk as well if anything should happen up there” Goren said.
The cold comes as roughly 2,000 athletes are scheduled to compete in the Empire State Winter Games in the Lake Placid region this weekend. Organizers have already canceled or rescheduled competitions slated for Friday and early Saturday.
In addition, ADK is canceling its outdoor programs or moving them inside during the cold spell.
“Layer up and be really careful,” Goren said.
The state noted that outdoor enthusiasts should abide by Leave No Trace principles in planning their excursions, which includes planning ahead and changing plans as needed.