Monday, October 9, 2017

We're Back! The 2017-18 Winter Outlook

Hello Followers of the Flake! And welcome back to another exciting season of winter weather prediction fun at Greylock Snow Day. We are thrilled to bring to you the best and most accurate information about potential snow days for Berkshire County and beyond. Last season was a great year--six and seven snow days in most districts!--and we can only hope that our good fortune continues for this school year.

The GSD staff got together for a little barbecue over the Indigenous Peoples holiday weekend, and we couldn't stop talking about the Weather Channel's decision to name its first Winter Storm of the season for Colorado. Winter Storm Aiden is supposed to drop up to 8 inches on Denver by the end of today. Not bad for this time of year! Is it a sign of good things to come?

As we get ready to rake leaves and trim hedges and put the deck furniture away, what is going to happen this winter in the Berkshires? Are we going to have a similar type of snow day bonanza that we enjoyed last year? Will we get shut out like we did two years ago? What, exactly, are the experts saying? Most importantly, what does our staff think?

Let's just say we do not at all like the general trend toward much warmer temperatures in the Northeast. Just a few weeks ago--September 25th--we broke a daily high temp record with a reading of 89 degrees. Back on June 12 of this year, GSD recorded 89 degrees at the home office. These were the hottest days of the year so far and they didn't even fall in summer months! We really wonder how broken the system is, and we are concerned about the future of this enterprise.

But take heart. Winter will persist in the 2017-'18 season. We will have snow. That you can count on.

A good friend of GSD reminds us that with long-range forecasting, you need to factor in two things. One is the jump we've seen in average high temperatures over the last 20 years; many of the models factor those higher temps in. It doesn't take a degree in meteorology to conclude that warmer weather means less snow.

But his second point is that big fall storms--hurricanes and typhoons--can throw off long-range forecasting radically. That we have had 3 major hurricanes this fall will impact our winter forecast; how they will impact our winter is very much unclear.

One interesting development recently--and this trend was not being talked about this past summer--is that we're starting to see signs that a La Nina pattern could be in place for the winter. Typically, La Nina winters bring slightly colder temperatures for the Northeast and normal precipitation totals. Should the La Nina take hold--we are under a La Nina watch right now--New England could see an average or slightly above average snow total because of the colder temperature and average precipitation forecast.

Another concept shared with us by our meteorological insider looks at the cold air around the poles. Right now, it looks like the cold air will be trapped up by the North Pole for most of the winter and might only break free during the late winter period. If we do get a few late winter shots of cold air from the polar vortex, we could see a few big late season (February, March) storms. That's a really intriguing idea that we embrace wholeheartedly at GSD. And just to remind you how turbulent the end of the season can be--last year we saw record highs in Pittsfield on March 1 (60 degrees) only to see a high of 18 degrees on March 4th and widespread snow days in the county on March 14th.

So, after all of our debate and discussion at the barbecue, the GSD Staff agrees we're in store for a healthy, hearty winter for the Berkshires this winter. The La Nina pattern could keep temps down and the chances for snow up, and the late season cold snaps could set up a few really big storms. A December snow day might be a long shot, but we should have plenty of activity January through March.

GSD is setting the over/under for snow days for most schools in the Berkshires at 4.5 this year. What do you think? Feel free to let us know in our comment section.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

2016-2017 Snow Fall Totals

(Snowfall amounts as recorded at the GSD Home Office in Williamstown, MA.)

Thurs Oct 27 1.2"
Sun./Mon Nov 20-21 8.5"
Sun/Mon Dec 4-5 1.2"
Fri Dec 9 0.1"
Sun/Mon Dec 11/12 5.0"
Wed Dec 13 0.7"
Sat Dec 17 5.8"
Thurs Dec 22 1.7"
Thurs Dec 29 4.0"
Thurs Jan 5 0.1"
Fri Jan 6 1.0"
Sat Jan 7 0.25"
Sun Jan 8 0.25"
Tues Jan 24 2.0"
Tues Jan 30 1.0"
Wed Jan 31 2.5"
Tues Feb 7 2.0"
Thurs Feb 9 7.5"
Sat Feb 11 2.25"
Sun/Mon Feb 12-13 8.6"
Tues/Wed Mar 14-15 16.5"
Thurs Mar 23 0.7"
Fri Mar 31 1.5"
Season Total: 73.35"

(Red=Mostly Delays
Blue=Mostly Snow Days)

Friday, March 31, 2017

There's Plenty of Storm Left

Even though dedicated snow day hounds were disappointed by the outcomes this morning, this storm has some bite of its own left in it.

Let's just say this storm isn't moisture starved. The wall of wetness is still headed our way as the low pressure system begins to intensify all the way down there around the Delmarva peninsula.

A lot of moisture yet to come. 12:45 PM radar.
The Berkshires are in the Winter Weather Advisory period, and we have an outside chance of getting upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning later this afternoon or tonight if the temps drop a degree or two. Your elevation also will determine the severity of your weather this afternoon and evening. Places above 1500 feet will get a combo of snow and sleet while locations below 1500 feet will see wet snow and rain with the eventual changeover to all snow for everyone.

Driving conditions tonight don't look encouraging. The messiness should extend into Saturday morning as well.

Enjoy the weekend, and let's hope this is winter's last gasp.

Late March Storm Update & Cancellations

At the GSD Home Office, we have a light coating of snow on the ground but roads are just fine. Heavy snow bands are in our very near future--between 6 and 8 AM--which will make the commute to school interesting.

Right now the storm is not tightly organized, but snow, sleet, and rain should become steadier throughout the day as a secondary low forms off the coast.

The 6 AM radar.
We do have a few cancellations and early releases to report. We'll add to this list if/when more come in, and we do think a few more will add their names to the release list. New schools to the list will be in blue.


Southern Berkshire


Emma Miller
Gabriel Abbott Memorial
Mohawk Trail


Southwest VT Supervisory Union
Stamford, VT