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Governor declares state of emergency because of snowstorm

During a press conference this morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency due to the winter storm and asked New York State residents to stay off the roads. Cuomo's office issued a press release soon afterwards. 

Here's the full text of the press release, below. 

Governor Cuomo Declares Statewide State of Emergency

Full Vehicle Ban in Effect for I-84 as Large Winter Storm Impacts All Regions of the State
State Replenishing Supplies of Road Salt for Downstate Localities

Albany, NY (February 5, 2014)

Governor Cuomo today declared a state of emergency for all of New York State, effective immediately as a winter storm continues to bring heavy snow, ice, and freezing rain to communities in both the upstate and downstate regions.  Read more

Snow day: Roads, schools and offices closed around Catskills

Above: Better put on those snow boots. Photo by Julia Reischel. Send your Catskills snow day photos to julia.reischel@watershedpost.com, share them on our Facebook page, or upload them to our Flickr pool. We'll share 'em. 

Between 8 and 10 inches of snow have fallen across the western Catskills region last night, according to the National Weather Service office in Binghamton. (The Binghamton weather folks are asking for photos of rulers in snow from the around the region this morning. So far, they've collected some good ones.)

This morning, county offices, schools and many major roads are closed.   Read more

Snowstorm could dump 10-18 inches on the Catskills overnight

That pink swath over most of the Northeast and Midwest? That's winter storm warnings, issued for a band of snow and sleet that's moving northeastward across the nation. Source: National Weather Service.

Skies over the Catskills are dazzling blue, but by tonight, the first flakes of a winter storm that could dump as much as 18 inches in the mountains will begin to fall. 

The storm is expected to begin around midnight, and continue through Wednesday. Hudson Valley Weather is forecasting 10 to 18 inches of heavy, wet snow for the Catskills, beginning in the west and spreading east.  Read more

Fatal shooting at DEP office in Kingston

Left: David N. Reese, who was arrested and charged with murder in the 2nd degree after allegedly shooting a coworker at the DEP on February 3, 2014. Photo via the Kingston Police Department's Facebook page. 

A 33-year-old Olivebridge man was fatally shot by a coworker at the Kingston office of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection at 71 Smith Avenue around 6:45 a.m. on Monday morning. A suspect in the shooting was taken into custody at the scene shortly after the incident.  Read more

DEP touts increased access for boaters, hikers and hunters in 2013

Fishing on the Pepacton Reservoir: Has that umbrella been steam-cleaned? Photo taken July 17, 2013; from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's Flickr page.

In the past few years, there's been a shift of attitude at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where officials are increasingly rolling out a welcome mat for hikers, boaters, anglers and hunters who want to use city property. On lands near the city's west-of-Hudson reservoirs, where once hiking groups had trouble even getting permission to cross DEP property, the agency is now actively working with hiking groups to build trails.  Read more

Bad news boars: Helicopter crew fights NY feral swine

Above: A trailcam captures a nighttime view of a wild boar in Delaware County. Photo taken in August of 2013; courtesy of Justin Gansowski of the USDA.

This week, federal wildlife agents armed with cameras and sniper rifles are patrolling New York State skies by helicopter, hoping for a glimpse of wild pigs. It's the latest mission in an ongoing battle to rid the state of feral swine, before most New Yorkers even realize the state has a pig problem.

It's far too late for Texas, whose $500-million-a-year feral pig problem has been dubbed the "aporkalypse." In Florida, the pestilential pigs are found in every county, and have even destroyed a $16 million F-16 fighter plane. Pigs are a moot point in Mississippi, where experts say it's "only a matter of time" before feral swine rut and root their way from rural Clay County to the far corners of the state

But it might not be too late for New York, according to the handful of state and federal regulators whose task it is to try to keep feral swine from getting established in the Empire State.

  Read more

Schoharie first responders take an icy plunge

Above: A couple of Cobleskill firefighters suited up for an ice rescue drill in the town of Summit on Saturday, Jan. 25. Photos by Sandra-Lynn White VanValkenburgh; reproduced with permission from Schoharie County Fire Wire & News

If you fell through thin ice, could your local first responders save you?

With weather like the Catskills has been having lately, it's not a bad idea for local firefighters and EMTs to have experience with ice rescues. Over the weekend, volunteers from several Schoharie County fire departments and other first-responder agencies got the chance to do some hands-on simulation of an ice rescue, hosted by the Summit Fire Department.

The weekend event was the first cold-water drill of its size in the area, said John Shaw, a firefighter at the Middleburgh Fire Department who helped set up the training session.   Read more

NYC mayor comes out swinging against fracking

New York City's newly-inaugurated mayor, Bill de Blasio, made it clear he's opposed to hydraulic fracturing in New York State in a speech to fellow mayors in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

De Blasio told the U.S. Conference of Mayors that "the one thing I am firm about is that I don't see any place for fracking," Capital New York reports. The mayor spoke in favor of a statewide moratorium: 

“The science simply isn’t reliable enough," de Blasio said on Thursday. "The technology isn’t reliable enough. And there’s too much danger to our water supply, to our environment in general. So my view is that there should be a moratorium on fracking in New York State until the day comes that we can actually prove it’s safe, and I don’t think that day is coming any time soon.”  Read more

Scenes from a Catskills cold snap

Above: Even in subzero weather, Roxbury looks picture-perfect. Photo taken Wednesday at sunset by Greg Henderson of the Roxbury Motel.

Above: It's a nippy 4.1 degrees right now on Belleayre Mountain, but the freshly-groomed corduroy looks pretty inviting. Photo posted today on Belleayre's Facebook page

  Read more

NY doubles down on high-tech weather forecasting

Meteorologist Mitch Gilt of the National Weather Service measures snowfall in Binghamton after a recent storm. Photo from NWS Binghamton's Facebook page.

After three major storms in three years, New Yorkers are investing heavily in high-tech weather forecasting. 

In his proposed budget for 2014-2015, released on Tuesday, Jan. 21, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to set aside $15 million of federal aid earmarked for Hurricane Sandy to build a "state-of-the-art weather detection system" that will create scores of new weather stations throughout the state. From the governor's budget proposal:

The system will provide real-time warnings of local extreme weather and flood conditions, and identify threats to communities, roads, bridges and the electric system. Data will be available for use in predictive modeling and early warnings to prevent loss of life and property. The number of weather stations will be increased from the current 27 to over 100, creating a highly sophisticated real-time weather reporting network that will accelerate and improve information sharing, thereby assisting emergency responders in responding to extreme weather events. 

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the city's upstate reservoirs, has also been investing heavily in weather technology lately. The DEP needs accurate weather data -- especially streamflow data -- to manage more than a billion gallons a day flowing through the city's water system. 

  Read more