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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

The frozen Ashokan

Water, land and sky: The colors of the Catskills landscape take on a subtle, unearthly beauty in deep winter. 

The photo above was shot at the Ashokan Reservoir on Thursday, Jan. 30 by landscape photographer Michael Neil O'Donnell, and shared on Flickr under Creative Commons license. To see a larger view of the image, click on this link to its Flickr page.

O'Donnell has shared several more of his stunning Ashokan Reservoir photos in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool, which currently holds over 1,900 beautiful images from around the Catskills. Local photographers, if you'd like to share your Catskills photos with us, please feel free to add them to the pool.

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

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

Too cold to swim at the Blue Hole

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Above: Tim Cox of Olive paid an out-of-season visit to the famous Peekamoose Blue Hole on the Rondout Creek on Thursday, a day when the mercury hovered in the teens to single digits. Anyone care for a swim? 

In summertime, the deep, famously cold waters of the Blue Hole are prime habitat for both tourists and locals in search of a refreshing Catskills dip. The Blue Hole is a bit off the beaten path, but attendance has been up since a 2010 mention by Travel & Leisure magazine in a list of America's best swimming holes -- even though they spelled "Shokan" wrong. (C'mon, guys.)

High-speed chase on Route 28 ends in arrest

A Delhi 16-year-old was arrested Wednesday after leading state police on a high-speed chase on Route 28, eventually ditching his car and fleeing into the woods.

Around 4:40 in the afternoon on Wednesday, Jan. 22, state police responded to a report of an unauthorized vehicle on Route 28 near Gladstone Hollow in Andes. When troopers attempted to stop the car, the driver fled, speeding and driving erratically to avoid being pulled over, according to a police statement

The driver sped eastward on Route 28 and fled all the way from Andes to Olive, over 40 miles away. The car was stopped on Route 28 near Mountain Road in Olive by a "stinger" tire deflation device deployed by police. 

The driver, 16-year-old Wade Armstrong of Delhi, abandoned the car and fled into the woods where he was arrested, police said.   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

Cold enough for ice circles

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Meet the elusive ice circle: An unusual ice formation that occurs on slow-moving water during intense cold weather. In the video above, posted today by the folks at the Woodstock Inn On The Millstream, a broad ice circle rotates slowly in the Millstream's gentle flow.

Another ice circle was spotted recently on the Esopus Creek by John Crews, who shared the photo with Hudson Valley Weather.

A couple of years ago, Gary Lane, a river guide on Idaho's Salmon River, snapped a beautiful photo of an ice circle that went viral on the internet. Since then, he's become something of an expert on the phenomenon. In a news article about his famous photo, Lane explains  Read more