With as much 10-14 inches of snow forecast for the area from late tonight through Wednesday evening, Ithaca's string of light snowfalls this winter may be at an end. Forecasters say the storm heading for the northeast will bring 7-16 inches of snowfall or mixed precipitation, and Ithaca falls in the middle of a band that's likely to get all snow.
Snowfall forecast for Central New York. Image courtesy of National Weather Service.Snow is likely to begin about 10pm Tuesday, with 1-3 inches accumulating over a few hours, but the National Weather Service says the heaviest snow is likely to come between 3am and 11am Wednesday, with snowfall rates as much as 2 inches per hour. "This could cripple travel, especially for the Wednesday morning commute," according to this morning's NWS briefing.
Since Ithaca is in an all-snow band, the National Weather Service is "not expecting any major ice accumulations" from the storm. Temperatures are likely to remain in the mid to upper 20s, with light winds affording little wind chill effect.
With travel Wednesday morning severely impacted, we can expect school closings, or at least delays, and slow going on area roads. If you do need to drive, allow plenty of extra time, and bring warm clothing, blankets, fresh water, and snacks in case you get stuck.
Meteorologist Drew Montreuil of Finger Lakes Weather says a "dry slot" could form in tomorrow's storm system, which could result in sharply lower snow accumulation for the southeastern portion of Central New York. "Continue to prepare for heavy snow," Montreuil says. Even if the dry slot lessens snowfall for our area, "the morning commute will be bad since the dry air doesn't come in until mid-morning, and then mostly for the southeastern Finger Lakes."
Forecasters are also still watching a storm system that could generate another significant snowfall this weekend.