A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship. -- Markus Zusak

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Snow Is In The Forecast

A fun game we play around the ol' GSD office with fall rain storms--especially ones that are called nor'easters--is to imagine how much snow we would have gotten had the rain storm been a snow storm. (It's not so much a game as it is an exercise of wishful thinking.)

The latest NWS data reports tell us that over 2 inches of rain fell in Pittsfield, starting last Tuesday and ending on Friday. If we plug in a modest 8:1 ratio (snow to liquid; most storms are in the 10 or 12:1 range), we would have seen close to 12" of snow on Thursday, the wettest day of the four days of the past weather event.

Had the temperature been below freezing, we would have had our first snow day of the season on Thursday, though it's likely a few school districts might have prematurely cancelled school on Wednesday because the of the gloom and doom forecast. Now that's fun to think about!

As for non-theoretical snow...it's time to get out the galoshes because the words "mixed precipitation" and "snow" are in the forecast for the coming weekend. Hoo-ha! While we don't love the timing of these forecasted flakes, we love the fact that it will be cold enough for snow.

Friday night (not to worry--well after the tricking and the treating) appears to be the window for snow with this very minor weather event. If it snows at all, it will be a heavy, wet snow and will not accumulate more than an inch or two. Higher elevation folk will have a better chance of snow than valley denizens.

We'll chime in later in the week should meteorological developments warrant it. Have a great week!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We're Back...Bring On the Snow

It's official. While out and about in the great outdoors in the Berkshires earlier today (Sunday), the founder and CEO of Greylock Snow Day felt the first flake of the 2014-15 season. While it may not have exactly been a flake and it certainly did not last very long, the piece of precipitation was very much frozen and there were witnesses. Faithful flake followers, we are opening up shop for the season! The first measurable snowfall can only be a few weeks away.

It also just so happens that the beloved word "nor'easter" has been mentioned by a few media outlets in the last day or so, which also prompted us to fire up the GSD Headquarters, dust off the ol' weather maps and re-boot our weather model-trackers (a.k.a The Super Computer). Sadly, this nor'easter will be of the atrociously wet kind. One to two inches of rain is forecast from Tuesday through Thursday (October 21 through 23), with much, much more up there Downeast and in New Brunswick (5+ inches possible). We're hoping the rain storm will slide on past us off the coast--there is a chance it won't develop as deeply as the experts are saying--but we probably shouldn't complain if Mother Nature tries to make up for the dry September she gifted us last month. North Adams only saw 3/4 of an inch for the entire month.

While we won't be posting daily just yet, we will give out reports at least weekly until the bigger storms start to roll in. Our next best chance for snow does not look likely that it will occur for at least two weeks. But keep your eye on this midweek rain event/nor'easter as the wind could whip up and knock power out for a few hours.

Until we meet again, keep thinking those wintry thoughts.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mid-Summer Report 2014--An Early Prediction for the Winter of 2014-15

It's mid-July. Grills are operating on all cylinders. The beach towel is a daily item of clothing. Your open-toe shoe of choice has developed a delightful Eau de Summer aroma. Ah yes, you are living the good life.

But what's that we're hearing on the major news outlets these days? A polar vortex is making its way into the Continental United States? A polar vortex in the summer?

It's not exactly a polar vortex (read here), but just the phrase "polar vortex" makes us think of winter, and what better way to bring winter back into our lives than with the official GSD mid-summer long-range forecast for the winter of 2014-15!

Let's get right to it: All the long-range model readers are talking about El Nino. Will it be a Super El Nino or mild El Nino? Where will it be wet and mild or cold and snowy? These are the seemingly impenetrable questions that snowhounds want answers to right away, so we'll do our best do make sense of the information that has been presented to us.

A recap about El Ninos. El Nino conditions--in general terms--refer to warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean. Strong El Ninos typically lead to wet and milder winters in the Northeast. Moderate and weak El Ninos typically indicate snowier winters for the East coast. These trends don't always work out so simply and easily--much depends on the positioning of the warm surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Warm temps that are more central often lead to snowier winters for us. Warm temps that are more to the east have led to winter fizzles for New England.

There's a lot of info out there right now suggesting that a super or strong El Nino is less likely for the winter of 2014-15 (which is good for snow lovers in Northeast). We are seeing signs of a centrally based El Nino along with warm surface temps in the Gulf of Alaska as well as cooler surface temps to the region north of Hawaii. The last time we had this setup--central El Nino, warm Alaskan waters, cool water north of Hawaii--was in the winter of 2007-08 when Albany received 45.4 inches of snow, which would be a disappointing winter. (By comparison, last year Albany received 73.5 inches of snow.) But back in 2002-03, which was the previous time that we had this same setup, we received a mind-boggling 105.4 inches of snow in Albany. Now that's a winter your great grand-pappy would appreciate.

So what does recent El Nino history and all of this info about pockets of warm and cool surface temperatures really mean for the Berkshires? Right now, not a hill of beans.

But the possibility seems to be lurking out there on the horizon that we'll have an average to above average winter (in terms of snow fall). If we split the difference between 2007-08 and 2002-03, it looks like we'll end up with just about the same amount of snow that we had last year: 70+ inches in Albany and 60+ inches at GSD Headquarters. We do recall that the GSD Staff didn't hear too many complaints about a lackluster winter.

So, mark it down: we are cautiously optimistic that for 2014-15 we will have a slightly above average winter with 60+ inches of snow. Enjoy the rest of the summer but keep it in your snow-loving hearts that the first snow storm is just a few months away.




Friday, May 9, 2014

Power Outage Alters School Day

[UPDATE BELOW]

According to National Grid, a substation fire has led to widespread outages for Northern Berkshire County. Several schools are delaying the start of school today and one has cancelled. Mt. Greylock, BaRT and North Adams have delays, and Adams/Cheshire has cancelled for the day. Power is supposed to be restored around 9 AM. 

If power is not restored by 8:30, Mt. Greylock will close for the day. Also, Williams College classes will start on time.