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

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Storm Mincemeat Wrap-up

Storm Mincemeat just about delivered on its promises, dropping close to a foot in the Berkshires. At the GSD Home Office, we recorded 11 inches of snow. Official weather spotters reported 10 inches in Lanesborough and 11.5 inches in Pittsfield. The big winner was Savoy, with a robust 15 inches. Not bad for late November.

The surprise of the storm was the loss of power for several hours last night. Because the snow was so sticky and there was almost no wind associated with this storm, the snow clung to the branches to the point that many branches were overburdened and snapped. There will be a lot of clean-up ahead with this storm and the damage it did to trees.

Storm Mincemeat: Ha, ha! Have a big helping of snow!
Tree: I will bend but you will not break me.

As for the next chance of snow, we may still see a few potent snow showers for Turkey Day which could drop up to an inch on us. Other than that, we have our eye on a very brief period of snow for the afternoon on Monday and a chance at mixed precipitation for the morning commute. We'll attach the Wednesday disturbance to the True North Confidence meter; unfortuntely, we don't think it will amount to much.

Have a great day. Enjoy your time off, and if for some reason you're one of those people who insist on shopping on Friday, may the Good Fairy of Commerce keep you safe.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Storm Mincemeat Update--Midday Report

We're terribly sorry if you were not one of the schools who enjoyed a snow day or release today, which, unfortunately, was most of Berkshire County. We hope South County students were able to get home safely and the roads weren't too bad at the time of dismissal.

In Northern Berkshire, the first flakes of Storm Mincemeat started falling right after 10 AM. We were off by a 15 minutes or so in our prediction. By 11:15, the snow was starting to stick and by noon the roads were very greasy.

Because the thermometer is still above 32 degrees, the snow is a heavy, dense snow right now. As the temperature drops throughout the afternoon, the snow will become fluffier, and that will allow the snow to pile up even more.

As you can see from this radar shot, there's definitely some kick left in this storm. Those yellow and orange bands of rain (near Washington, DC) are on target to overspread our area later this afternoon. The snow is fairly light right now (1 PM); expect to see it pick up considerably in the next 5 to 6 hours.

When it's all said and done, we'll end up with at least a foot in most locations in the Berkshires. Some spots will top out around 16 or 17 inches. As of 1 PM, we're seeing reports of between 3.5 and 5 inches of snow already on the ground. At the GSD Home Office, we have 3.2 inches on the ground.

Kick back and enjoy it! Get out there and play in the white stuff. We all could use a little extra exercise today in advance of the feasting tomorrow.

Getting Ready for a Big Slice of Storm Mincemeat

[We're keeping a running list of school closures at the bottom of this post...]

Everything is still on track for Storm Mincemeat. In fact, some signs in the overnight hours suggest the storm could be stronger than we think, extending the snow cover farther north. Oddly, the temperature has gone up over the last few hours to the upper 30s, but now it's on its way back down. We could see a brief period of rain and sleet right at the beginning before it all turns over to heavy snow.

There is a TON of moisture associated with this storm. Once the snow starts to fall--and we think that will be between 9 and 10 AM in the Berkshires--it will not take long for it to come down heavily.

Here's the radar picture as of 4:15 AM. This green mass shows heavy precipitation moving north-northeast and it will get to our area in about 5 hours. The green will be converting to blue very shortly.
Those schools with 11 AM dismissals might sneak through okay; the noon commute home, however, is going to be unpleasant. After noon, the snow will be piling up significantly with rates of 2 inches an hour likely in the Berkshires. Make sure you have what you need for the big food festival tomorrow before 11 AM today; you're not going to want to be out and about between noon and midnight today.

Whether or not you get a snow day is very much up to the mood of your Superintendent. Also, once one Superintendent makes the decision to cancel school, more will follow. It's a big game of poker, and no one wants to reveal his or her cards too early.

We hope we'll be able to add to this list throughout the morning:


Berkshire Community College
Mohawk Trail Regional SD
Mount Greylock
Williamstown Elementary



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Forecast Map Time!

The previous two posts break down Storm Mincemeat in more detail. Click here and here for more detailed info. (We just love writing the words "Storm Mincemeat," by the way.)

We are still very excited about tomorrow's storm. We might not get a snow day out of Mincement because most schools already have an early release, but just knowing that we'll get a foot of snow and will start a four-and-a-half day weekend is cause enough for celebration. If tomorrow were a normal Wednesday, we'd be endorsing early releases 100%, and those decisions would be coming in as we write this post.

Anyone with tests tomorrow should prepare for them, just in case. You don't want to jinx it for the rest of us.

Here's one of our favorite activities at GSD: showing the range of weather maps out there. From worst to best:

Springfield Channel 22
This map from the NWS shows the probability of 8+ inches of snow; the Berkshires are mostly in the 70-80% range.
Solid; not great. Accuweather.
Weather Channel; no problems there. 
Probably about right. Channel 13 Albany