A big blast of winter weather is coming to the Northeast, and the Cayuga County-area is expected to take a hit.
The National Weather Service on Monday issued winter storm warnings for much of upstate New York, including Seneca, Cayuga and Onondaga counties. The warning runs from 6 p.m. Monday through 8 a.m. Wednesday.
In the Auburn-area, snow accumulations of 9 to 18 inches are predicted in a storm that will bring the start of heavy snowfall overnight, and continue winds gusting as high as 40 mph on Tuesday.
"Travel could be very difficult to impossible," NWS said Monday. "Snowfall rates tonight into tomorrow morning could approach 1 to 2 inches per hour. ... If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."
Much of upstate New York is in the path of the storm. Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for 37 counties, including Cayuga and Onondaga.
"State agencies spent the weekend preparing emergency response assets, my team is in constant contact with local officials, and we have activated the National Guard to assist with emergency response," she said. "This storm will create hazardous road conditions through Wednesday morning, and I encourage New Yorkers in impacted regions to stay home and avoid any unnecessary travel to allow plow crews to do their job."
Several area school districts and organizations were already announcing closures on Tuesday, ahead of the storm's expected arrival overnight.
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Two Cayuga County school districts are among the awardees receiving a share of $31.4 million to upgrade classroom technology and bolster security.
Weedsport Central School District will receive $231,650, while Southern Cayuga will get $68,850. The funding is available through the state's Smart Schools initiative. The districts had to submit investment plans that detail how they would spend the money. The plans must be approved by the Smart Schools Review Board, which consists of the state budget director, state education commissioner and State University of New York chancellor.
According to Weedsport's plan, the state grant would cover the cost of buying new classroom technology equipment, such as Chromebooks and iPads. Southern Cayuga Superintendent Patrick Jensen said the funding for his district will be used to buy Chromebooks for students in grades 9-12.
Overall, the review board approved plans submitted by 57 school districts and a special education school. While $7.2 million was awarded for classroom technology and $7.1 million will support school internet connectivity projects, more than half of the funds ($16.6 million) will aid with the installation of high-tech security at schools. The security measures can include entry control systems, emergency classroom notification systems and video systems.
The smart schools initiative began in 2014 when New York voters approved a $2 billion bond act to support education-related technology upgrades.
Gov. Kathy Hochul noted that the lack of technology affected schools during the COVID-19 pandemic when classes shifted to a remote learning model.
"This $31.4 million investment will allow students to access the technology to bring them the opportunity to learn at their own pace while providing interactive experiences both inside and outside of the classroom," she said.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.