Ithaca, N.Y. — Christina Dravis first got her Pomeranian American Eskimo puppy last March in Rochester.

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So, yes, she says as she walks the dog down East State Street early Monday morning, this is their first real snow storm together. (There have been other wintry days since then, but Ithaca is supposed to get walloped by about 11 inches of snow on Monday.)

“It wasn’t as fun as this,” Dravis says. “We’re still getting to know each other.”

Christina Dravis, of the 911 Center, takes her dog for a walk early Monday morning. (Jeff Stein/Ithaca Voice)

Dravis watched as the dog, named Squirt, burrowed itself below the fallen flakes. For a second, it was hard to tell where the snow ended and where Squirt’s white fur began.

“If you see snow that’s messed up, it just means we’ve been through it,” Dravis said. “He loves it.”

Dravis, who is from California, was out at 6:30 a.m. in part because she works for the Tompkins County 911 Dispatch Center. She joked that it probably wouldn’t be a good day for her to come in for work late.

Ithaca dog “Squirt” making one of his characteristic snow angels.

As the season’s biggest snow storm descends on the Ithaca area, most local school districts have announced closures for the day.

But while the kids sleep in, many adults are getting ready for work — or already well into their days. Standing at the tuning fork by the Commons, a TCAT bus and an Ithaca police car rumbled up toward East Hill.

A few minutes later, a different Ithaca police car drove down West State Street. Another TCAT bus was close behind.

Jim Miller, of Trumansburg, had made it into the city to shovel snow. He has two buildings and their lots to account for, but he had already made good progress outside the Elmira Savings Bank when a reporter arrived early Monday morning.

“Business is good,” he said.

With forecasts calling for the snow to last into the afternoon, Miller said he wasn’t sure how long his day would last.

But as he scraped his shovel across a row of the bank’s steps, Miller said he knew the storm had imparted at least one gift: the kind of snow that was falling.

“It’s not wet; it’s a little lighter than some of the stuff we get,” he said.

A few feet away, a young man stopped his vehicle at the base of the Commons to kick the snow from his boots.

The plowman had been up since 7 p.m., fighting the storm, since the night before.

“Dude, I’ve gone up and down this hill six times and not gotten it cleared,” he said, a little exasperated.

Relief was on the way, however — at 7 a.m., to be precise.

“I’m about to go home and sleep,” he said.

See related: Following dad’s footsteps, Ithaca plowman prepares for battle with ‘epic beast’

See related: Ithaca garbage men work through sub-zero temperatures

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.