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

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. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snow Showers Possible (April 15)

Spring is in full swing, which of course means in this neck of the woods that it could snow at any moment.

Torrential rain is on the menu for the ides of April* today (at least an inch of rain), but we do want to pass along that we could see snow later tonight as the cold front passes through. The temps in the 70s we've enjoyed the last few days will be a thing of the past, as temps will plummet into the 30s tonight. Any snow shower activity will be brief, but a few intense snow squalls are possible.

We'll see 40s for Wednesday and Thursday, and then we'll finally get back up into the 50s on Friday.

The long-range forecast for Massachusetts's vacation week (NY is off this week) looks decent: mid 60s and plenty of sun.

*See comment section--thanks for the heads up!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One-Hour Delay for Mt. Greylock (April 1)

It's no joke...buses will be running one hour later this morning for Mt. Greylock.

We'll get to the bottom of it as soon as we learn more information. Our only weather-related thought is there are patches of black ice out there. But there could also be problems at the bus company instead.

More later...