The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today advised backcountry users in the Adirondacks, especially the High Peaks Region, of potential avalanche and high water risk following mild temperatures, high winds, and rain. Warmer weather and rain will melt existing snowpack, swelling waterways and making water crossings dangerous. High winds and a return to colder temperatures will then result in re-freezing. Avalanche danger increases during thaws and snow becomes increasingly unstable as it undergoes freeze/thaw cycles.
DEC advises that where bridges are not available, do not attempt stream crossings during periods of high, fast-moving water. Water temperatures will be extremely cold and full or partial submersion can quickly lead to hypothermia. Be cautious on frozen bodies of water, especially near shore, over moving bodies of water, and where streams enter and exit lakes and ponds. Follow ice safety guidelines and remember that slush ice is approximately 50 percent weaker than new, clear ice.
Backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and others who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain should be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions. Avalanches can occur in any situation where snow, slope, and weather conditions combine to create the proper conditions. While the majority of steep, open terrain is found in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks, avalanche-prone terrain is found on mountains throughout the Adirondacks, including Snowy Mountain in Hamilton County. Skiers and snowboarders should assess their own experience level before going into the backcountry and should be equipped with avalanche safety tools and knowledge, such as participation in an avalanche safety course.
Additional information on avalanche danger, preparedness, and safety precautions is available on the DEC website.
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