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Schools and government offices closed and traffic slowed to a crawl in the Cayuga County area as an extended period of wind and snow hit the region Wednesday and Thursday.

Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck issued a travel advisory Thursday morning, asking motorists to be cautious to take extra time to reach their destination. The advisory was lifted later in the afternoon.

County 911 dispatchers said they received calls about a smattering of minor accidents Thursday morning. Auburn Police Department Sgt. Donald Gosline said there had been several minor car accidents in the city, with vehicles colliding into each other or sliding off the road, but with no injuries reported. He said he believed multiple school cancellations and the overall conditions kept drivers off the road.

All area schools closed for the day, and the Cayuga County Legislature and Auburn City Council canceled their scheduled evening meetings.

The National Weather Service had issued winter storm warnings through 7 p.m. Thursday for areas that included northern and southern Cayuga, Onondaga and Madison counties. The agency warned of heavy lake effect and blowing snow, with additional accumulation through the afternoon. Up to one inch of snow per hour was anticipated "at times into early afternoon then decreasing through the afternoon," the NWS said. Winds as strong as 35 mph caused drifting and blowing snow in some areas.

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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