Thursday, December 16, 2010

GSD Confidence Meter Explained

Predicting snow days is, in fact, a science. It's not just about following the winter storm watches and warnings as offered by the lovely folks at the NOAA National Weather Service. The Staff at GSD are trained snowday-ologists.

The Confidence Meter will be updated regularly in the run-up before any possible delays , cancellations, or early release days. Here's an explanation of the The True North Confidence Meter:

VOLUME -- Volume, of course, refers to the volume of snow that is likely to fall. Three inches can be enough  to cancel school some days, but generally speaking we're looking for 6+ inches of the fluffy white stuff. Once we get beyond the 8" threshold, we're in the money! We put our predicted number of inches here.

TIMING -- Timing is perhaps the most important element to a snow day decision. Too early and the evil plows have their time to do their business; too late and we could be stuck sleeping in the gym with 600 of our closest friends. Ratings range from EARLY to JUST RIGHT to LATE.

ICE -- Ice is bad. Ice causes old people to slip and break their hips. Ice can shut down your cable, your internet and your XBox. But ice is GREAT for snow days. Ratings for ICE will include types of ice precipitation: SLEET and FREEZING RAIN.

SUPER -- An important but often overlooked component of every snow day decision is the psychology of the superintendent. A bad prediction on one storm can work against us for the next storm. And vice versa.
Different Supers in Berkshire County have different issues to contend with. North Adams and Pittsfield have more children who walk to school than other districts. Central Berkshire has the hill towns to factor in. Some Superintendents are stingy with their snow days; others cancel at the threat of the sighting of the first flake. Ratings for this category will vary.

Percentages next to DELAY, SNOW DAY and RELEASE indicate the likelihood of each event. 100% means that it's a sure thing; 10% means you really should do that homework you're so desperate to blow off because it's highly likely you're going to school.

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