A group of Moravia Junior High School students were to come to Lime Hollow Nature Center today to learn primitive fire building, snow sculptures, first aid, tracking and other winter survival skills.
They may need to put what they learned to use quickly.
The National Weather Service posted a winter storm watch beginning at 7 a.m. today and continuing until 7 a.m. Wednesday. The watch area includes southern Cayuga County and all of Cortland, Onondaga, Madison, Chenango and Broome counties.
Three to 6 inches of snow are possible, according to the weather service.
Perhaps more troublesome will be the wind and frigid weather that follows, according to the National Weather Service.
Gusts are expected to reach 35mph as dangerous wind chills stretch through Thursday.
As temperatures fall and wind speeds increase Wednesday morning, wind chills will dip to about 10 degrees below zero during the day and continue to fall to negative 20 overnight.
Temperatures are forecast to fall to 3 degrees tonight and not climb above 11 on Wednesday before dipping to negative 7 Wednesday night.
The high Thursday is expected to reach only 7 degrees, followed by negative 5 overnight.
After a high of 14 degrees Friday, the high Saturday will be 25 followed by a relatively warm 40 on Sunday as the cold spell is expected to break.
Travel may be very difficult, especially for the evening and morning commutes Wednesday, according to the severe weather alert.
Glenn Reisweber, executive director of Lime Hollow Nature Center, said the skills he will teach can be used by anyone in winter weather.
The 75 sixth-graders will learn advanced primitive skills after an introduction to the subject as fifth-graders. The program is based on a book, “Brian’s Winter,” by award-winning author Gary Paulsen.
“It should the perfect weather for this,” Reisweber said of the forecast for 20 degree temperatures and snow.
“The kids usually come in and they are not prepared,” he said. “We teach them about proper layering. The right clothing to wear is the key: no cotton, heat pockets of air with your body heat, mittens instead of gloves.”
The same precautions go for everyone in the winter, Reisweber said.