Ithaca, N.Y. — An unpredictable snowstorm is expected to dump around 9 inches of snow on Ithaca from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning, according to multiple forecasts.

5 things to know about the upcoming storm:

1 — Difficult to predict

The National Weather Service is stressing that our area is between the cold air to the north and warm air to the south, making “the snowfall forecast VERY difficult.”

“This is especially true along the transition zone which is across the southern part of New York and northern Pennsylvania,” the forecast says.

Even the meteorology guru at Finger Lakes Weather faces some difficulties.

“This storm is so complex, I could not properly communicate the forecast in one, or even two maps,” he writes.

2  — Slow moving, long duration, low intensity

Forecasts are stressing that the snowstorm will be slow moving. That’s bad because it means it’ll last longer — but good because it will blunt the storm’s impact, and no one hour should see a barrage.

“It will be a very LONG duration snowfall which will help to lessen the impact,” the NWS says.

3 — When does this thing get going?

Temperatures have risen and are pretty mild right now. In fact, the weather is not supposed to be that bad Sunday — only one or two inches here tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

Things will really get going from Sunday night into Monday.

4 — When will it be the worst?

The brunt of the storm should be between Sunday night and Monday night, according to the weather service. Finger Lakes Weather is predicting 4 to 8 inches of snow during that period.

It should be pretty much over Tuesday morning.

5 — Winter Storm Warning

The weather service has already issued a winter storm warning for the Ithaca area.

“A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow,” the alert says. “Sleet, and ice are expected or occurring. This will make travel very hazardous or impossible.”

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Jeff Stein

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