March isn't ready to turn into a lamb yet. After several days of arguing about the expected severity of a mid-week storm, forecasters are all agreeing a major winter storm will sweep across Western and Central New York on Wednesday. A winter storm warning is in effect from 10am Wednesday until 8am Thursday.
The National Weather Service in Binghamton anticipates "heavy snow" for Central New York, and is currently forecasting 10-14 inches total accumulation for a band that stretches across the Ithaca area and includes Bath, Cortland, and Norwich. Lighter snow totals are expected to the south, where warmer air will keep the precipitation in the sleet and freezing rain category for more of the day Wednesday. Ithaca is in a narrow band that could have "wintry mix changing to heavy snow" into Wednesday afternoon, or be "all heavy snow" by Wednesday afternoon, which will help determine the snowfall totals.
"Temperatures may drop rapidly during the day, causing a flash freeze on area roadways," say NWS forecasters. "Anything still wet freezes up Wednesday night," as temperatures fall overnight to single digits or as low as zero by Thursday morning. Low temperatures and strong winds will produce wind chill temperatures below zero, and the strong winds will also produce blowing and drifting snow. Forecasters expect travel conditions will be "difficult" on Wednesday afternoon and evening across the area.
Snow accumulation map through Thursday morning courtesy of National Weather Service.Areas to the west, stretching from Rochester to northern Cayuga County, are under a blizzard warning, and the system could bring thunderstorms across the area. The blizzard warning area can expect northerly winds of 25-35 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 mph, and as much as 19 inches of snow.