Sun File Photo

Cornellians walk through Ho Plaza in Feb. 2020. Temperatures are expected to drop low enough that students will be unable to walk to class comfortably.

February 16, 2021

Cornell Braces for Overnight Winter Storm, Icy Temperatures

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A winter storm warning for Tompkins County was announced on Monday afternoon, as forecasters predict seven to 12 inches of snow to blanket the Ithaca area by Tuesday morning. 

The majority of the heavy snowfall will start Monday evening and continue through the night, according to the forecast. The chance of precipitation will be 100 percent, with a low temperature of around 26 degrees Fahrenheit. By Tuesday morning, the snow is anticipated to become sleet.

Snowfall rates will potentially reach one inch per hour from Monday evening to Tuesday. This overnight accumulation, along with the potential of sleet, presents the risk of hazardous roads and sidewalks for Tuesday morning commuters. 

A Monday afternoon University email wrote that all employees and students are expected to “make reasonable efforts” to maintain their regular work, class and surveillance testing schedules as snow falls on the Ithaca campus. Cornell advised against any unnecessary travel, stating the hazardous impacts of the storm on commuting and day-to-day operations.

In-person classes will continue to take place, unless an instructor teaching on campus is unable to make the commute due to the weather. Any instructors unable to make it to teach in-person are to communicate directly with their students, and students are expected to communicate with professors if they cannot commute to campus. 

But a snow day isn’t in the realm of possibility. In the fall, Cornell eliminated the possibility of snow days as long as Zoom University is in session, as any in-person classes also have an online section available for students to attend. 

Classes at Tompkins Cortland Community College will similarly run remotely starting 6 p.m. Monday, and continue to be held virtually through the day Tuesday. 

The winter storm warning will be in place until Tuesday at 4 p.m. Snowfall is predicted to lighten Tuesday morning around 8 a.m., with accumulation expected to total around an inch of snow throughout the day. 

Forecasters predict a slight chance of snow showers Tuesday evening, with the chance of precipitation falling to 20 percent.