A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder. -- Susan Orlean

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Light Snow After Midnight

The coastal storm that is expected to bring a moderate and/or heavy snow fall to the eastern part of the state is now slated to take a more northerly track. This means the Berkshires will fall under the outer edges of this storm.

From eastern Mass meteorologist Dave Epstein.
Especially in South County, snow will move in after midnight. Do not be surprised at all if it snowing when you wake up tomorrow. If it is snowing tomorrow morning, then we have to at least account for the possibility of a delay or two. We doubt there will be delays, but there is a slim chance a South County district will opt for a delayed start to the school day.

We'll have much more on next week's complicated forecast over the weekend.

Multiple Chances for Snow (and Snow Days)

All signs are pointing to a messy, snowy start for next week.

The first item of interest, though, is a developing coastal storm that will impact eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island tomorrow. A storm that was supposed to go out to sea has turned inland and will drop up to half a foot on the southeastern parts of New England. There's a chance we could see a few stray flakes from this storm--especially in southern Berkshire County--so just be aware that a period of very light snow is possible during the day on Friday.

As for the excitement of next week, the computer models are all over the place, but a few certainties are starting to form. The first item of interest for us is that we will be dealing with two storms next week--one on Monday night and one on Tuesday night. The Monday night storm will come out of the Southeast and it could impact us if it turns inland (similar to what tomorrow's storm is doing). We could see a 2-4 inches out of the Monday night snow, which could delay school on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night the low from the Midwest (that we talked about yesterday) is expected to move to the coast and then reform there. This could set up a traditional coastal storm scenario where western New England is the big winner. The only problem with the Tuesday night storm that we're seeing is that there might not be quite enough precipitation with it. We've seen a long-range map that predicts only about a third of an inch of liquid precipitation, which would only yield us 4 inches of snow. If the timing were right, though, that could be enough to cancel school on Wednesday or at least give us a delay.

Despite how amazing the computer models are these days in their ability to predict the weather, next week's many moving parts will make it difficult for the models to get a real handle on the scenarios this far in advance of the storms.

So here is GSD's three-step method for getting ready for the possibility of snow next week: 1) Don't get too excited too soon; 2) Channel as much positive energy toward these storms as possible; 3) Wait until Sunday until we have more information.

Welcome these storms in your mind and good things will come. Believe, Flake Followers, believe.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Building Storm for February 9-10

Our feelers are out to all of our major and minor forecasting sources, and we're hearing from a number of parties that a storm is a-brewin' for next week.

The conditions are lining up for a not insignificant coastal storm (yes, a nor'easter) for Tuesday night into Wednesday. We know for certain there will be enough cold air for an all snow event. We're mostly sure a low pressure system will come from the upper Midwest and then transfer its energy to a coastal low. We also have been led to believe that the coastal low gain in strength as it makes its way in a northeast direction along the coast. Several forecasters feel that the main target area for this storm--should it develop--will be New England.

We like that Berkshires are more or less smack dab in the middle of the projected storm zone for this storm. Thanks, Accuweather, for the image.
The big X factor is the track of the storm. It could track more inland, which would allow warmer air to sneak in and change the snow to rain, thus leading to lower snow totals. It could also head out to sea and give us an even lighter snow event.

The initial models are encouraging, so we're going to keep an eye on it. There's no need to get too excited, but the preliminary reports and forecasts are the strongest we've seen this winter for a moderate to heavy snowfall for the Berkshires.

But given the historically poor winter we've had, we are going to proceed pessimistically and just assume that the storm will go out to sea. We're not giving up hope, but we'd rather be pleasantly surprised than have our hearts broken (again).

This map for next Tuesday shows the low from the upper Mississippi Valley transferring its energy to a coastal low. The position of the coastal low in this map is perfect for a major nor'easter. Thanks, NOAA, for the graphic.

We'll be updating regularly for this storm should it become more of a certainty.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

First Week of February Update

Hello faithful snowhounds. The wait continues for the first big winter storm of 2015-16. Time is ticking!

We have good news and bad news. Let's get the bad news out of the way first.

Not a bad spring day for January 31st, was it? Temps hit the big 5-0 today. We'll see a slight cool down tomorrow and Tuesday (40s) before we're right back up into the mid 50s on Wednesday. Oh, and Wednesday? Heavy rain possible and windy. Winter in the Berkshires, 2016! Good times!

The rest of the week will be slightly cooler but still above freezing for our daily highs. The snowstorm drought continues.

The good news--and it's meager--is we could have a coastal storm late Sunday into Monday. One model is predicting potent snowstorm scenario; the other has the low pressure system going out to sea.

The GSD Staff can not express it more clearly how welcome a three-day weekend would be at this time of the year. Even though we have February vacation coming up, it's most unusual to go from December break to February break without at least one weather interruption.

We have advocated in this space in the past why the Monday after the Super Bowl would make for a better fit for Presidents' Day. Perhaps this is our year that Old Man Winter will make it a holiday for us.

Our desire for a snow day on February 8th is at 100%. The True North Confidence Meter, unfortunately, is at 2%.

We'll keep on an eye on it, of course, but do not get your hopes up.