With dangerously cold arctic air still in place across the Great Lakes, snow will continue to pile up in the snow belts downwind of the lakes.
A major lake-effect snow event will unfold through Wednesday as bitterly cold northwest winds move over the only partially frozen Great Lakes.
Over 2 feet of snow has fallen over the past couple of days in some of the snow belt regions. As of early Wednesday morning, Interstate 81 from the New York-Canada border to just north of Syracuse remained closed due to blowing and drifting snow.
According to NOAA, ice coverage throughout the Great Lakes is limited to mostly coastal locations and this lack of ice will lead to the development of blinding snow downwind of the lakes.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists are expecting that some locations to the east and southeast of the Great Lakes will end up with over 3 feet of snow through Wednesday. This will especially be the case in the Tug Hill Plateau east of Lake Ontario.
Snow amounts to this magnitude will be confined to isolated areas, mainly in the most persistent bands where snowfall rates of 2 to 3 inches an hour will occur.
Some of the heaviest snow will fall from Erie, Pa., to Jamestown and Buffalo, N.Y., northward into Oswego and Watertown, N.Y. Parts of Interstate 90 through this region may become impassable for a time during the heaviest snow bands.
Interstate 81 across northern New York, downwind of Lake Ontario will be greatly impacted by white-out conditions and feet of snow.
If you must travel through midweek near the snow belts, use extreme caution and allow for plenty of extra travel time.
Keep a basic winter survival kit in your vehicle that includes a flashlight, batteries, blanket, snacks, water, gloves, boots and a first-aid kit in case you have to pull over or become stranded.
As always, check back with AccuWeather.com as we continue to monitor the cold and snow across the region.
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mike Doll contributed to the content of this story.
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