The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning this afternoon for all of Central New York. The warning, which lasts until 10am Friday, says we can expect heavy snow, blowing snow, and dangerously cold wind chills.
Weather forecasters based in Binghamton anticipate total snow accumulation of 6 to 12 inches across the area by Friday morning, with the heaviest snow likely to come on Thursday afternoon and evening.
The Ithaca City School District is "monitoring the weather closely," says Superintendent of Schools Luvelle Brown. "I'd love to see students tomorrow, but there is potential for a school closing." Dr. Brown says school district officials will make a final decision at about 5:30am. Many other area school districts are already closed for winter break through the end of the week. (Update Thursday morning: Ithaca schools are open today.)
Thursday's high temperatures will most likely be in the teens, dropping to or below zero Thursday night. Temperatures on Friday are unlikely to escape the single digits. Strong winds on Thursday night, along with "bitterly cold air" pushing down into the area from Canada, will mean wind chills as low as 25 degrees below zero late Thursday night and Friday morning.
Governor Cuomo will activate the New York State Emergency Operations Center on Thursday morning in anticipation of what the state is calling a "potent winter storm." Another weather system that's expected to impact the east coast could result in coastal flooding and beach erosion. A blizzard warning is in effect for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island.
The National Weather Service calls it the "coldest weather expected in at least three years," with wind chills in the Adirondacks likely to drop as low as 40 below, and warns of the potential for frozen pipes and dead car batteries. Any power outages resulting from high winds or icing could leave some area residents without heat.
Blowing snow and dangerously low temperatures will make for slick roads and treacherous travel, especially on Thursday night. Motorists who must drive should be sure to set out with a full tank of gas, and carry food, water, a flashlight, and very warm clothing or blankets in the car.