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Storm's over, but baby, it's cold outside

Above: The view from the newly-opened Windfall trail at Windham Mountain, where about a foot of light, powdery snow fell during the recent snowstorm. Belleayre, Hunter and Plattekill are also rejoicing in a bumper crop of fresh powder.

Skies over the Catskills are dazzling blue today, in the wake of a snowstorm that left over a foot of snow in some areas. But watch out -- with temperatures in the single digits, and expected to fall below zero overnight, it's still frostbite weather out there.   Read more

Cuomo closes I-87, I-84 and LIE for snowstorm

In a news conference this afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared that several major roads in New York State would be closed late tonight because of the snowstorm bearing down on the Northeast.

In the Hudson Valley, I-84 will be closed to commercial traffic starting at 5 p.m. At midnight, I-84, the New York State Thruway south of Albany, and the Long Island Expressway will all be closed to all traffic. 

Officials tentatively plan to reopen the roads at 5 a.m., but will make a decision based on road conditions by 4 a.m., according to a report by the Associated Press.

A statewide state of emergency is in effect. In a post on his official Twitter account at 3:47 p.m., Cuomo urged New Yorkers to "stay off the roads if you can."

Winter storm warnings in effect across the Catskills

A snowstorm moving into upstate New York from the southwest is expected to dump heavy snow on the Catskills, starting this afternoon and continuing overnight. 

A combination of heavy snow, blowing winds and subzero temperatures will make travel in the region extremely dangerous during the fiercest part of the storm. Total snow accumulations should reach 6 to 12 inches across most of the Catskills, with up to 15 inches in some areas.  Read more

Eat, shop, gossip: Catskills general stores serve both food and community

Above: Lucky Dog Farm Store in Hamden sells local groceries and serves lunch. Photo by Richard A. Smith. 

In many ways, the Catskills region is the land that time forgot. Too rural to attract droves of big-box stores, and too stubborn to change fast, the little mountain towns are still home to many old traditions that have gone the way of the dodo elsewhere in the world. Among them is the old-fashioned general store, where residents and visitors alike can eat a home-cooked meal, pick up a few necessities and catch up on the latest news with friends and neighbors.  Read more

Meet Ulster County's spiffy new website

Above: A screenshot of Ulster County's new website, online at ulstercountyny.gov. The photo in the shot -- one of a series promoting Ulster County tourism -- is "Big Air At Belleayre," by local photographer Franz Edlinger.

Launched today: A new and improved website for Ulster County, boasting greater user-friendliness, increased access to government information, and a bunch of photos showing off some of the county's prettiest scenery, from Belleayre to the Rondout waterfront.

The county's new site is ADA-compliant, and will feature a site-wide emergency alert banner with critical information during emergencies. 

The website's architects at Next Step Digital, the Kingston digital design and marketing business that built the site, are proud of their work:  Read more

Catskill Mountain Railroad to Ulster County: Let's make a deal

Above: One of the Catskill Mountain Railroad's Alco trains, running on the Kingston end of the old Ulster & Delaware corridor. Photo from the Catskill Mountain Railroad's Facebook page

A rail trail deal struck last week between Ulster County and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection may be the death knell to the Catskill Mountain Railroad's long-held goal of restoring train service all the way across the county, in an unbroken route from Kingston to Shandaken. 

But CMRR chairman Harry Jameson is willing to give up the dream, if it means the railroad can keep running trains in Kingston.   Read more

Ready for a foot of snow, Catskills?

Might want to make sure your front door is shut this weekend. Photo taken in Thompsonville on March 8, 2013 by John of Catskills Photography; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool

It's official: We're about to get whomped. A storm moving into the area Saturday morning is predicted to dump anywhere from 6 to 12 inches on the Catskills and Hudson Valley over a 24-hour period, with even greater accumulations possible in parts of the eastern Catskills. As of late afternoon on Friday, a winter weather warning has been declared for the Catskills counties of Greene, Schoharie and Ulster, Delaware County is under a winter storm watch, and Sullivan County has a winter weather advisory.

Hudson Valley Weather is following the storm closely, and broadcasting updates on both Facebook and local radio; the volunteer-run social media site recently announced a partnership with Clear Channel of the Hudson Valley to broadcast weather updates on the group's nine radio stations.

Here at the WP, we're tracking the weather in real time, and will share weather updates in the Storify widget below as they come in. The latest updates are at the top. If you have a photo, video or eyewitness account you'd like to share with us, you can email it to us at editor@watershedpost.com or tweet it to us at @watershedpost. Please let us know if you see local road closings, accidents or other dangerous conditions out there. (And send us pix of snowmen/snow women/snow aliens/etc. We want those, too.)

Happy first big storm of the year. We wish you snow forts and hot cocoa.

DEP to put up $2.5 million for Ashokan rail trail

Above: Ulster County executive Mike Hein looking cheerful about some DEP news, for a change. From a joint news conference held Dec. 12 in Kingston; photo courtesy of the Ulster County Executive's Office.

There's not much love lost between Ulster County executive Mike Hein and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Over the last few years, Hein's office has been locked in very public battle with city watershed officials over the Lower Esopus Creek; Hein has called the watershed agency an "occupying nation" and accused the city of unfairly manipulating the regulation of local water issues.

But on Thursday morning, Hein and the DEP buried the hatchet, at least long enough to make a joint announcement about city support for Hein's pet project -- a walking and biking trail that would extend from Kingston to Highmount on the corridor of the old Ulster & Delaware Railroad. 

  Read more

Snow on the way to the lower Hudson Valley

In the forecast for the lower Hudson Valley today: Heavy snow, with the chance of more than six inches accumulating in some spots, according to the folks at Hudson Valley Weather. There's a winter weather advisory on for Orange and Rockland counties west of the Hudson, and also across the river in Putnam and Westchester counties

The Catskills region will see some snow, but not as much as our neighbors to the south and east. An inch or two at most is expected in the region, with the heaviest accumulations forecast for Ulster County. 

Local school districts are taking heed, and quite a few schools in Ulster and Sullivan counties are closed for the day.  Read more

A handmade holiday: Craft fairs around the Catskills

Above: Hand-painted glassware by Lilian Miccio, one of the artisan vendors at the Holiday Extravaganza at the Roxbury Arts Center, Dec. 7-8. Photo from the Roxbury Arts Group's Facebook page

Holiday shoppers: Looking for something you can't find on Amazon? If you want to give something truly unique this season, check out one of the upcoming holiday craft and artisan fairs happening around the Catskills. 

Hudson Valley Hullabaloo
Saturday, Dec. 7, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
323 Wall Street, Kingston

Billed as "arty meets party," the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo is a smorgasbord of handmade gifts and crafts from over 40 local vendors, from letterpress to leatherwork. This year, the festivities include a DJ, a photo booth, a craft table for kids, and a visit from the Ate.O.Ate food truck.  Read more