ITHACA, N.Y. — The National Weather Service Binghamaton Forecast Office has issued a high wind watch for Tompkins County.

The watch is in effect from 8 AM Wednesday Morning to 2 AM Thursday morning. The watch has been issued in response to a potent storm system passing north and west of the region, which will bring with it a powerful cold front that will result in prolonged strong, gusty winds after its passage.

The gusty west and southwest winds are expected to peak in the 40-50 MPH range in most of the Southern Tier, with stronger winds closer to Lakes Erie and Ontario. Isolated reports of 60 MPH are possible. The risk for damaging winds is elevated, with chances greatest between 11 AM – 9 PM Wednesday. Weaker tree limbs will be snapped, and scattered power outages are likely. High-profile vehicles such as semi trucks will find travel difficult, and will be at risk of blowing over. Unsecured lightweight outdoor objects may become airborne.

Local residents are urged to store lightweight objects such as lawn ornaments, trash cans and bird feeders indoors. If travel is necessary, use caution, as tree limbs may have fallen into the road, or power lines may be down. Be prepared for an extended power outage, and pay attention to weather updates as provided by the National Weather Service, media and phone applications.

Some isolated thunderstorms and heavy rain may develop ahead of the cold front. Rainfall amounts are expected to be in the 0.25-0.5″ range, with some isolated areas hit with downpours liable to see up to one inch. Stream and creek levels will be elevators, but are expected to crest at no higher than minor flood stage.

Winds will begin to pick up later today, breezy southerly winds gusting in the 15-30 MPH range. Once the cold front passes through Wednesday is when the risk for damaging winds is greatest. Winds will diminish later Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

It is important to note that wind speed is highly dependent on the surrounding terrain, buildings, tree coverage, and other highly localized factors. As a result, not every location is going to see the maximum potential winds.

Correction: The times in this story have been corrected since original publication.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.