Friday, August 26, 2011

DEC Campgrounds Closing, Expect Extreme Weather

The Governor’s Office has announced a state government-wide mobilization of resources to prepare for the coming of Hurricane Irene which is currently expected to come ashore east of New York City on a track towards Hartford, Connecticut as at least a Category 1 or 2 hurricane. The storm is expected to begin impacting the Adirondack region early Sunday.

Widespread tree and powerline damage is likely and large scale power outages possible, especially from the Adirondacks eastward. The Adirondack Park and Catskill Preserve Campgrounds will be closed and evacuated by noon on Saturday. DEC has also issued a warning urging the public to not attempt to use hiking trails or backcountry camping areas throughout the Adirondacks from Sunday 8/28 through Monday 8/29.

Widespread heavy flooding rainfall and possibly damaging winds are expected, particularly on the eastern slopes of the Adirondacks, the Hudson River and Lake Champlain valleys and into Vermont.

The National Weather Service is forecasting widespread heavy rainfall Sunday into Sunday night ending by Monday morning. Amounts will likely range from less than an inch in the St. Lawrence Valley, 1-3 inches in the Adirondacks, and 2-5 inches in the Champlain Valley. Significantly more rain is expected to fall from the Green Mountains into eastern Vermont.

The biggest areas of flooding concern will be in the eastern Adirondacks and Vermont, especially Sunday night into Monday.

Sustained wind speeds of 30 to 45 miles per hour are expected, with gusts 35 to 50 MPH in the Adirondacks and 45 to 65 MPH across Vermont. The most dangerous winds are expected to occur in the Champlain Valley on Sunday evening and night, and in Vermont later Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Throughout the Adirondack region Hurricane Irene is expected to generate extremely high winds and heavy rainfalls which could result in local flooding, heavy erosion of trails, falling trees and limbs and, possibly, landslides on steep slopes. Already saturated soils could also increase the potential for blow-downs.

Waterfront property owners and contractors should cover and stabilize any exposed soils to keep them from washing into lakes. Sediment and stormwater runoff is harmful to lake water quality. Spread mulch or straw over bare soils. Install silt fences on the down slope of any project area where soils might be loose.

Button down your waterfront. High winds and waves might wash equipment and furniture into the lake creating navigation hazards. Secure rafts and float toys, and be sure they are labeled in case they break loose.

Be extra cautious on lakes after the storm passes. Watch out for floating debris.

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