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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Return to School Storms?

Happy holidays, all you faithful followers of the flake. We hope you're enjoying your time with friends and family and, of course, all the new gadgets in your life.

Pretty lame winter so far, isn't it? It looks like vacation week is going to be snow-less, but we might have something stirring for the first day back from vacation. We have a rain/snow/ice event on the GSD Radar for Tuesday and Wednesday, January 3-4. At the moment it looks like it may be too warm for a big snow, but the prospects of ice certainly put a delay possibility fully into play.

A near miss...
We know everyone's impatient for snow, but we need to just give it time. Signs are pointing to a shift in the weather pattern that could bring us a series of storms throughout January, one each week. Keep your spirits up, and before too long it will look and feel like winter out there.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12.22-23: Winter Weather Advisory In Effect

Snow total predictions are on the rise for the Northern Berkshires, and the NWS is calling for 3-6 inches for our neck of the woods and points north.

Most schools are in session tomorrow, so we'll go ahead and roll out a prediction even thought the GSD Staff is on holiday. A delayed opening is a weak possibility for North Adams, Clarksburg, Florida, Pine Cobble, MAU, and even the Adams/Cheshire RSD. Given the track record of the under-performing storms of December, we're not at all confident school will be delayed tomorrow. The NWS says up to 6" could fall, but we're not endorsing such a high total. Look for 2" across the region, with less from Lanesborough southward.


 As for a full snow day, the only chance is if ol' Saint Nick himself hijacks the administrative office of your school and decides to give out early presents to all the good boys and girls of the Northern Berkshires.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12.22: White Stuff on the Way

Normally we don't get too excited about a whopping 2" of snow for our area, but it is winter (as of tonight) and we need nature to at least look the part.

Snow will start late at night on Thursday, and it will be a fast mover, but it could make for a messy drive-in--for those who have to go to work, that is! With most schools on vacation, this storm is in that "who cares?" zone, but the holiday does make it semi-relevant.


Probably not enough to sled on according to Accuweather, but there will be enough flakes to get even the grouchiest of Grinches into the holiday spirit. Here's hoping it's on the high side of the predicted snowfall total.

We'll update throughout the holiday vacation if there are any blockbusters, and we'll definitely have a few predictions for our first week back. Until the, enjoy the holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week of 12.19: White Christmas Still Possible

While this week is a complete bust for snow storms, there's evidence on the horizon that we could see some snow this weekend to coat the ground and at least make it look like winter out there. The timing of this snow could be perfect--just in time for stocking time and presents on Christmas morning.

Accuweather is throwing out this scenario, and the fellows over at Channel 13 were also hinting at the same scenario this morning on the Monday morning news.

Sorry, folks, but that's all we've got. We do see a more significant snow for the New Year weekend. We may be starting to creep into that wave of storms pattern--we're looking at 3 or 4 weeks of weathermakers--that is characteristic of the early part of the winter. We DO NOT endorse the weekend timing of these storms, but at this point any news is good news.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12.14: Winter Weather Advisory for Thursday after Midnight

No need to get excited about the Winter Weather Advisory this evening. The changeover to rain will happen well before school starts, but the advisory went out because there could be some sleet when the precipitation starts this evening. There's the tiniest of chances we'll get a delay, but the roads should be just wet when the buses roll out.

The prospects for our 12.20 storm are dissipating, but we're still clinging to hope. The latest development is a wintry mix for Christmas Eve. Not great, but we have to take what we're given.

Keep half an eye open for slick roads tomorrow morning, but you should be able to proceed with all systems normal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Storm 12.20: Prospects for a White Christmas

Predicting a storm seven days in advance is rarely a good idea, but times being what they are, we're pulling the trigger early and CALLING FOR A FULL SNOW DAY ON DECEMBER 20TH! WOOT-WOOT! Break out the wassail!

Actually, we're just funnin'.

While the current long range forecast is for snow that day, we're skeptical about a major snow event. Of course, you, as a faithful and educated reader of this weather brokerage service, want to know why, and herewith is your answer:


Hmmm, you may be saying, that weather map sure looks promising. Well, as my old junior high gym teacher used to say, "Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear." (As shocking as it may sound, he wasn't exactly the cheery, upbeat, glass-is-half-full type--the guy made Scrooge look like Dale Carnegie.)

The map on the witness stand above has a glaring problem. That low that you see scootching across the country is too flat--its eastward movement will not allow it to suck enough moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico to bring us the blockbuster storm we desperately need right now. The only promising possibility out of the scenario above is that it will hit the coast, forming a coastal low (okay) or linking up with a secondary low (great, but unlikely) and taking a left hand turn up the coast.

Next week's lively pattern does very much warrant attention. Fortunately, friends, you can leave that heavy lifting up to us while you concentrate on your holiday cookie recipes and Secret Santa gifts. We'll update you on or around Friday with the latest developments.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2nd Half of December Predictions

Greetings to all you weather fiends. Despite the disappointing performance of our 12.8 storm, let's be honest--we really didn't think that one would be the one to break the ice, so to speak, for our first school-schedule alteration of the 2011-12 season.

To no one's surprise, the week of 12.12 is not looking particularly promising. Temps will warm up and then drop down, but it's as dry as Leake County, Mississippi here in the Northeast. We're not looking at anything until the 19th or 20th that might give the Superintendent agita.

The good news--and kudos to our weather tipster for alerting us to this article--is that the week before that big celebration of the birth of a major religious figure looks like it might be a lively one on the ol' weather front. With a big shift in the jet stream, the Northeast could be in the path of one, two, or three possible weather systems. White Christmas? The GSD staff is definitely saying there's a chance.

We'll update next Tuesday's storm as this week progresses. You'll just have to endure the week, but keep your hopes up for the week of the 19th. With Friday the 24th off for most folks, there's no enormously pressing need for a snow day that week, but it would be a nice Secret Santa gift from Mother Nature to us all if she could come through.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Storm 12.8 Recap: An Early Season Fizzle

In the end, the 12.8 storm only produced about 4 inches of snow. There was plenty of moisture for there to be more snow, but the storm just seemed to accelerate as it strengthened off the coast of New Jersey and Long Island. It blew through much quicker than we even thought it would.

Road crews were out about 4 am, and it appeared they had been practicing their technique in the off-season as the roads were completely fine by about 5.

The bad news is that there's very little stormy activity in the long-range forecast. Alas. Temps are going to come down to more seasonal highs (low 30s), which will only help the next storm. With cold air locked in place, the next storm should start as snow.

Next week looks very dry, but hopefully there will be some good news for the week after. With vacation just around the corner, some people are content to get to the holiday break without a snow day. We at GSD find that kind of thinking simply preposterous.

We'll update with a longer term forecast over the weekend. Get out and enjoy the few inches of snow while they last!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Storm 12.8: Delay Only...Maybe

We'd love to be the bearer of better news, but the harsh winter reality is that this storm, like James Dean, will have a brief, intense life. Odds are still better than not for a delay, but no one should be surprised if we have a full day of school.

We still will see close to 6" on grassy surfaces, but the warm wetness of the roads will keep the snow off those moving vehicle thoroughfares for the first part of the snow storm. Add in the early end to the event, and we're definitely looking at a partial day of school if not an entire day. Darn it.

Encouraging news from Bob K but we're still skeptical.

Don't forget that the GSD Staff is also slightly gun shy here. We can't predict a snow day and then have it not come through on the first legitimate snow day opportunity of the season. We got all caught up in the hype of the big April Fool's Day storm of 2010 and got burned. If we overshoot the mark on the first go- round of the winter of 2011-12, how will we be able to earn back your faith?

We're still somewhat confident that we'll have a delay of some kind. Robo-call will be coming in around 6 or 6:15...if it happens at all.

Storm 12.8: Latest Developments--Snow Totals Up

According to the NWS, the track has followed the ideal path to bring us our second significant storm of the season. At the NOAA discussion board late this afternoon, the consensus was that there was enough moisture to bring 8-16" for the Northern Berkshires, and those totals are reflected in the latest version of the Winter Storm Warning alert. Five to ten inches is being predicted for Southern Berkshire county.

The changeover is still several hours away. The good news is that there is a ton of moisture still to come. The bad news is the timing of the storm. It's zipping along. The Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 6 am tomorrow. This is, as they say, bad. Typically, storms end at least 2 hours before the end of the warning period. If the snow stops falling at 4 am, which seems reasonable given the radar, the GSD staff thinks the road crews will have enough time to get the main roads done in time for at least a partial day of school. Typically, road crews are a little rusty and slower for the December storms and not the well-oiled, efficient machines they are in late February. Still, their rustiness is probably not enough of a factor to move our delay to a snow day.

Right now we're still favoring a delay over a snow day. We're taking our snow day percentage up to a 50-50 proposition, and we're bumping the chance of a delay to 80%. If you're thinking about blowing off homework for the evening, you're playing with fire. We still could up the chance of a delay to 100% by the 11 pm report. Keep working on your snow dance, and check in then!

Storm 12.8: Winter Storm Warning!

This just in...a Winter Storm Warning has just been posted as of noon. Snowfall expected to be 6-12 inches. Read the post below, but things are, as they say, trending upward!



Still no guarantee of a snow day, but we'll give a full report at 8:00.

Storm 12.8: More Precipitation Than Expected?

Greetings, Weatherhounds. Here's the GSD schedule for the rest of the day: we'll make a preliminary call by 8:00 pm today and then we'll do a final follow-up around 11 pm.

Certain models are showing there's more moisture with this storm than originally predicted. It's going to come down hard at some point this evening. If it's before the changeover, we're looking at possibly an inch of rain. If it comes after the temps dip low enough for snow, the snowfall rate could be 2-3" per hour. According to NOAA, if it does come down that fast, the predictions for snowfall will need to double (taking us up to 6-12"). If that happens, we would have a Winter Storm Warning in place at least for NorBerk. That scenario is certainly realistic and reflected in our latest Confidence Meter.

The radar reveals that a strong line of moderate to heavy precipitation is taking a track toward the northwest corner of Massachusetts and the southeast corner of Vermont. Earlier in the week, it looked like South County was going to get the fat part of the storm, but moisture has definitely lifted more northerly. Again, any kind of movement of this heavy precipitation line is going to radically change the prediction. That is, of course, if it turns to snow early enough.

We're still saying around 10 or 11 pm for the shift to snow. If it shifts earlier, that's not necessarily a good sign because the storm is moving quickly. We'll try to nail down the time span of the storm at the 8:00 pm report, as that will give us the clearest indication if we're sleeping in tomorrow or not.

If you see a Winter Storm Watch or Warning this afternoon, we could be in for a big one.

Storm 12.8: WWA Posted--4-6" Expected

At 4 this morning, the NWS posted a Winter Weather Advisory for our area calling for anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow. The NWS is as unsure as we are about the actual time of the changeover from rain to snow. Even though the storm will race through, there is a lot of moisture with the storm.

The GSD Staff concern is that the bulk of the moisture is going to fall as rain, leaving us only a few inches of snow once the changeover comes. Despite Accuweather's bold prediction of 7.1 inches for NorBerk, the GSD Staff is calling for 3-4 inches.

Rain will fall for most of the day, and we think the changeover will take place between 10 and midnight this evening for Northern Berkshire. We're still not feeling the love for a snow day and are going with the delay as our strong play of the day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Storm 12.8: Shovels at the Ready

Channel 13's latest snowfall prediction map:


This map indicates a couple of things:
1. NorBerk may be just slightly out of the range of this storm;
2. SoBerk could get the brunt of the snow, with upwards of 8 inches in the higher elevations;
3. A 50-mile shift in the track of the storm will affect snow totals radically

Under normal circumstances, we would want the low to track more northerly to bring more moisture over our area. The downside to a more northerly track is that not enough cold air will be pulled into place to give us a mostly snow event after midnight.

Given how many factors need to line up for us, the GSD Staff is still very skeptical about too much coming of this storm. We're still firmly behind the real chance of a delay, but the full snow day seems less likely.

Storm 12.8: Delay More Likely Than a Snow Day

Greetings, Followers of the Flake. Signs are still fairly positive that we're in for snow late Wednesday night into the early morning hours. Here's the word from NOAA:
IT APPEARS THAT [THE PRECIPITATION] MAY START AS RAIN OR A
RAIN/SLEET/SNOW MIX...BEFORE CHANGING TO SNOW...WITH PERHAPS A 1-2 HOUR
PERIOD OF MORE INTENSE SNOWFALL RATES OF 1-3 IN/HR ACROSS HIGHER
ELEVATIONS MAINLY S AND E OF THE CAPITAL DISTRICT. THIS SHOULD
YIELD SNOWFALL TOTALS WITHIN THE ADVISORY RANGE ACROSS THE EASTERN
CATSKILLS...BERKSHIRES AND SOUTHERN GREEN MOUNTAINS
Encouraging but not a blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination. We do like the 1-3 inches per hour snowfall rate--that would certainly up the ante and give us a better chance of a snow day.


Check in throughout the day tomorrow for the latest dope on the storm. Things are looking up!

Storm 12.8: Snow Will Fall for Thursday

More weather services are now on board for snow Wednesday night, and it looks like we'll be shoveling on Thursday. Break out the holiday music!

The low is going to go up the coast but stay just enough away from us to pull in the cold north air. When the changeover from rain to snow occurs is anybody's guess--we're still 36 hours away from the onset of the precipitation.


As you can see from this lovely map from the Weather Channel, the timing is absolutely delightful and will jack up the percentages for the delay or full day off.

For our prediction, we have to factor in that meteorologists can get a little ahead of themselves with these storms in the early part of the season. Right now we're definitely still feeling luke warm about the storm but that can change if the moisture prediction increases (which some models are indicating is likely).

Factors against the storm: 1) warm air; 2) it's a fast-mover.
Factors for the storm: 1) the track of the low; 2) timing

We'll keep updating our chances as we move closer to Wednesday night. As you regular readers know, a lot can happen in the twenty-four hours leading up to the storm.

Storm 12.8: More Good News

Here's the latest from NOAA courtesy of our GSD satellite office:

MODELS ARE TRENDING MORE AND MORE TOWARDS A SIGNIFICANT [PRECIPITATION] 
EVENT FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT AS A SHARP SHORT WAVE [TROUGH] SWINGS AROUND 
THE BROAD UPPER LEVEL [TROUGH] OVER THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY...AND 
INDUCES STRONG CYCLOGENESIS ALONG THE FRONTAL BOUNDARY TO OUR SOUTH. 
THIS LOW IS FORECAST TO REMAIN SOUTH OF LONG ISLAND AND THE NEW
ENGLAND COAST WHICH WILL ALLOW TEMPS TO GET COLD ENOUGH FOR RAIN TO 
CHANCE TO SNOW ACROSS THE ENTIRE REGION. RIGHT NOW IT APPEARS THAT 
AREAS SOUTH OF ALBANY HAVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR A SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL

As far as storms go, "CYCLOGENESIS" is a very good word to see--not quite as good as "BOMBOGENESIS," but for early December beggars can't be choosers.

This storm will move fast, so it's unlikely to really pile up the way it did in October. If it does turn to snow--and  we're very concerned about the lack of cold air in place despite the report above--it will be of the heavy, wet variety.

Be aware that some models are still predicting all rain. Others see a shift to a mix in the end. At this point, based on the information we have, it's extremely unlikely we'll have a snow day, but a delay is very much in the mix.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Storm 12.7/8: Plowable Snow Potential

The GSD Staff is officially in frenzied alert stage. The NOAA discussion page is all abuzz about the possibility of a measurable, plowable snow event for Wednesday into Thursday. The models are still all over the place, but more and more of them are pushing a coastal low's precipitation range into the Berkshires. Bring it on, Old Man Winter!

Here's what they're saying over at NOAA:

A PLOWABLE SNOWFALL COULD EASILY OCCUR ACROSS S/E
PORTIONS OF THE REGION...FROM THE CATSKILLS INTO THE MID HUDSON
VALLEY...NW CT AND INTO THE SOUTHERN BERKSHIRES...WITH SOME
POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW TO OCCUR EVEN FURTHER N/W. 

You definitely need to check in frequently as this storm will develop quickly if it develops at all. There's still a strong chance it will go out to sea and not affect our area, but the latest signs are becoming increasingly positive. Keep those fingers crossed...

Courtesy of AccuWeather

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Long Range Winter Forecast: Stormy but Warmer

The good people at Accuweather unveiled their updated long-range forecast for the winter, and the survey says....STORMY!

That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, we like it.

It appears that our La Nina is weak-to-moderate this year, which will give us plenty of storms but temps will be slightly warmer. This will make forecasting a nightmare, and we'll be riding out those long nights of determining the snow/ice/rain changeover lines and times. But with major upgrades to the GSD main frame computer in the off-season, you can count on Your Official Snow Brokers to deliver the goods the night before any decision is made. There's no question that school administrations will make some head-scratching decisions, but you'll always know that the GSD call will have been the right call. We didn't get to a 97.65% by happenstance.

December's still not looking that desirable. Mother Nature's going to get her beauty rest to close out 2011, but then she's going to wind up and bring the cheese again and again after the New Year. Prepare to button up the ol' chinstrap.

For many more details and the national forecast for the winter of 2012, check out Accuweather.

Wednesday of next week is looking more and more like rain with a chance of snow showers late Wednesday night into Thursday. This storm's pulse is barely perceptible.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11.30: So You're Saying There's a Chance--12.7-8 Event?

Greetings, Snowhounds. Finally, some colder air has worked its way into our region, and we can now officially say that there is snow in the forecast for the middle of next week.

Don't get too excited, but there are some models that are showing that a secondary low pressure system could form off the coast and move up it in the middle of next week. This is exactly the kind of low pressure movement that we would need to create a snow event for our area. As Marv Albert would say--Yes!

We really aren't that optimistic at the home office of GSD, but it is our sworn duty to put you on alert for midweek snow. Worst case scenario is rain showers for late Tuesday, all of Wednesday, and into Thursday. Best case scenario would be plowable snow event for Wednesday night into Thursday. A tweener scenario would be mostly rain with a few wet flakes mixed on Wednesday night when the temps go low. The big stumbling block still is the daytime temperatures above freezing.

Nothing to get hot and bothered about, but keep your ears on and click in over the next few days to get the latest.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In the Bleak Early Winter...Week of 11.28 Update

We trust everyone's gorging went according to plan. The good news, kids, is that there are--count 'em with me now--a mere 19 school days until our next glorious respite from our places of higher learning.

Historically, there's about a 60% chance of snow day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of the ten biggest snow storms to hit the Albany area in the month of December, about four of them fell before the 24th. Even though some people are chafed by the idea of going to school all the way until the 23rd--the nerve of these school committees!--the late release will actually increase your odds of having a snow day before the holiday break.

The forecast for December? As our good friend Maury the GSD janitor says, "Bubkis!" Unseasonably warm at the beginning of this week and then temps will dip gradually as we move toward the weekend. As far as precip goes, there just isn't much on the horizon so you're looking at one full week of school and quite likely two with no weather-induced holidays or disruptions. We'll say it again--bubkis.

What we need is a shift in the jet stream. We need cold air and we need it bad. There's a rumor among the NOAA guys and gals that the much needed shift is on the way--cold air is looming out there above Canada--but the big, bad Northern winds may not not appear until the December 10-15 window or after.

Our friend Maury the janitor also says that good things come to those who wait. That's all we have to go on right now. Once the jet stream does shift--and it inevitably will--it's usually an indication that we'll have a good three or four weeks' worth of storms.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11.22: Glazed Turkey?

The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for our area this evening because of the threat of freezing rain in the overnight hours tonight. There's no need to worry about downed power lines or glazed over trees as the freezing rain accumulation will be very light if it happens at all for the Berkshires.

Minor travel disruptions could occur, and the roads tomorrow shouldn't be too bad as long as you're heading west, east, or south and stick to the main thoroughfares. If you're heading north, things could get dicey once you get past Manchester, VT. Many locales in the Adirondacks have Winter Storm Warnings for this evening and into tomorrow.

As far as long term threats go--we have our eye on a storm for the middle of next week and one possibly on Saturday, December 3rd. The Wednesday storm could be an ice event, and the jury's still out for the weekend weather-maker.



May you all get your eat on on Thursday, and we'll update next week's storms over the weekend.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sleepy November Nearing Its End...Will December Be Better?

It's hard to believe that it's been three weeks since we celebrated the first White Halloween in decades.

Unfortunately, November has been and continues to be a dud as far as the snow goes. We did spot a few flurries the night of 18th, but there was not even enough to utilize those new snow scrapers we all went and and got after the October beatdown.

The slimmest of good news is we can at least start to talk about snow in the forecast. The West is starting to see a few more storms, which means it won't be long before the jet stream cooperates and brings us that glorious White Gold.

We do have the chance of snow for Wednesday the 23rd, which could (but likely won't) complicate people's travel plans for Turkey Day. If it does come down as snow--one outlier model is predicting several inches but most have it as a straight rain event--the heaviest precipitation in our area will be during the evening hours from this coastal storm.

Things should clear out overnight for a fairly calm Thanksgiving Day, and the weather looks great for all the loony birds willing to brave the malls on Friday.

The Staff will keep an eye on the Wednesday storm, but currently we're thinking umbrellas not boots.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Storm 10.29.11: Would It Have Been a Snow Day?

Let's just take a moment and consider if this storm had fallen on Sunday instead of Saturday. Would we or would we not have had a snow day on Monday?

Courtesy of Accuweather.
For the Northern Berkshires, all evidence points to a chance of a two-hour delay with very little chance of a snow day. The radar indicates the snow will fall steadily for the next few hours but will wind down rapidly around midnight or 1 a.m.--a much shorter time window than the forecasters originally predicted. Given the gap between the end of the storm and the start of school, snow removal crews would have had plenty of time to make the roads passable. This storm, however, does have a "surprise/novelty factor" that may have made it more snow day worthy than, let's say, a storm in mid-March. Add 10% to the snow day chance column. (In a way it's ruining the "surprise/novelty factor" for an early or mid-November storm. Thank you very little, Mr. Late October Storm.)

The heaviest snow has fallen in the mid- and Southern Berkshires so those school districts would definitely been in delay mode or had no school. The real x-factor this evening is the wind, which will pick up and cause many power outages. If we do get many outages, then the chance for a delay and/or a snow day would have improved dramatically, perhaps into the 40% chance range.

All in all, the storm delivered more snow in the Southern Berkshires than the North and just about came through as predicted. Here are snow reports from Channel 13 (as of 8:30 pm on Saturday):

BERKSHIRE
Peru (MA): 17"
Great Barrington: 15"
Savoy (MA): 12"
Pittsfield (MA): 12", 10"
Lanesborough (MA): 8.5"
 We're definitely in a stormy pattern and we'll need to keep our eyes and ears open for storm developments next week. Right now it looks mostly dry, but we'll stay on the case.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Storm 10.29.11: Warning Posted--Snow Totals Revised

On the twenty year anniversary of "The Perfect Storm," it looks like we're in for a major snow event for Saturday into Saturday night.

From Bob Kovachick and crew
 The GSD staff still thinks we'll be on the low end of the snowfall totals--6-7 inches--but that will be more than enough to coat roads, pull down branches, and cause power outages. The other factor is the wind will kick up, knocking the snow off leaf-covered trees but also upping the chance of interruption of your electricity service.

Precip will likely fall mid-morning. It will likely start out as a heavy mist or light rain, but then it will turn over to snow within a few hours. Most events after noon should be cancelled tomorrow--take that into account as you plan your day. If we make it to the high end of the storm--12 inches--then many events on Sunday will have to be called off.


If anything significant changes, we'll keep you posted.

Storm 10.29.11: Winter Storm Watch ?!&!

Absurd.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch that will begin tomorrow at noon and continue until 6 am on Sunday. The storm is only predicted to drop anywhere from 2" to 12" on our area, but because there are so many leaves on the trees (green ones, too), the NWS decided to break out the Watch. Here's what they're saying:

WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE ANY CHANCES WITH THIS STORM. THERE COULD
BE A MAJOR SOCIETAL IMPACT ACROSS A LARGE PORTION OF THE FCST
AREA.
("FCST" stands for "forecast," but you, being one of the many highly literate GSD Followers, probably figured that one out on your own.)

Major societal impact? What in the Sam Hill is going on around here? The GSD Staff loves what we do, but this is just a little too much too soon. Plus, we in no way condone Saturday storms.

Doom and gloom, from Accuweather. GSD finds this projection just a bit hyperbolic.
 Hopefully, the storm will go the way of the big April Fool's storm from last spring. You can't help but think that we only have so many inches to work with this winter, and we don't want to waste them on a Saturday storm before we've even put the Halloween costumes away.

At worst we'll see 6-7" inches of heavy wet snow. If that happens, we're going to see plenty of power outages and cancellations of events on Sunday. Realistically, the Staff agrees that we'll get about 4 inches of wet, greasy snow. It's best to make Saturday evening plans that don't involve driving.

We'll update later with a few snow forecast maps.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Storm 10.27.11: Holding Pattern

Snow is still likely to fall in the afternoon and evening on Thursday. This morning, the weather team at Channel 13 was predicting upwards of 5" from Pittsfield north, but most forecasters have moderated those exuberant predictions and have settled in the 1-2" range on grassy and surfaces.

Thanks to WNYT.
 This is the kind of snow that won't be around very long, but it will be fun to see it come down as (hopefully) a harbinger of many winter storms. The time frame for this early tempest should be noon to midnight.

Saturday's storm is just about dead to us. One model has it impacting the Southern Berkshires, but don't count on it. A storm with a similar pattern to the weekend storm is in the forecast for the middle of next week, but, again, early returns suggest it will head out to sea. Colder air is definitely in place for the next few weeks so we'll need to be on the ready.

Enjoy the first snow of the season tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Storm 10.27.11: White Stuff on Thursday and Saturday?

Because of the countywide teacher development day on Friday, discussion of a possible snow day is moot...but it sure is fun just to get back on the prognosticating horse and talk about the potential for snow. Welcome back, everybody!

The GSD Staff is very skeptical about any kind of snow event for Thursday afternoon/evening. The air aloft will be cold enough to generate snow showers even if the temp is well above freezing, but the warm temperature of the ground/grass will prevent accumulation. Accumulating snow will depend strongly on your elevation--a few hundred feet will make a big difference. It's possible that you may see some snow piling up on those wet leaves that you haven't gotten around to raking yet, but no one needs to get too worked up over the precip for Thursday.

It's also unlikely that any outdoor games will be jeopardized because of the potential for snow on Thursday. What there is potential for is some spectacular viewing of boys high school soccer at night games on Thursday. There are few things more magical and surreal than watching a bunch of lands running around in shorts and chasing a white ball as big, wet snowflakes fall through the stadium lights. Monument, Lenox, and Greylock all have games Thursday night. Find a venue and enjoy the show!

Just hold your horses, Accuweather.

We'd be remiss not to mention the very outside chance at a coastal storm on Saturday night. Despite the goods that Accuweather are trying to sell you, we're skeptical with extreme prejudice. But we at least need to keep you informed. And we always, always reserve the right to change our minds.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Welcome October!

It's officially fall, which means only a few short weeks until the first flakes will hit the ground. Typically in our region, the first visible flakes fall in mid- to late-October. And once we hit November, it's game on, snow lovers. Here are few things you can--and should--do this weekend to get yourself in the spirit of the snow day season.

1. Put the shovel on the front porch.
2. Move the ice scraper out of the trunk and into the back seat.
3. Fire up the snowblower to make sure she'll start when you need her.
4. Move the winter coats into the front closet or coat rack.

If the grocery store can put out Halloween candy in August, GSD is allowed to get you ready for snow days in (almost) October. After all, it's the early bird that gets to sleep in on the first snow day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome Back to School

It goes without saying that the start of school also marks the start of the end of school countdown. "We get out on June 12th this year," someone says in the hallways, "that is, if we have no snow days." So, by extension, the beginning of school really marks the snow day alert season, even if it is still summer and the temps are in the mid 80s.

This year it looks like a flood day is more than likely to occur before we get a snow day, so we'll do our best to keep you updated if the wet weather persists. Otherwise, it's all systems go for GSD this year, and we can't wait for the flakes to start flying so we can get back to work. The long-range forecast is nothing to complain about so we should have another fun and exciting winter season ahead.

In the meantime, stop by at GSD Selects to check the latest in pop culture.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8.28: Irene Coming to Town?

It seems just a smidge silly to be getting all worked up about hurricane given the location of the GSD-following area, but duty calls. It feels a lot like getting excited about an East Coast earthquake, which one GSD Staffer thought was the cleaning staff really working over a vacuum in the GSD front lobby. Regardless, even though our expertise is the nor'easter, we do dabble in hurricanes.

Do you remember Hurricane Floyd in 1999? That's right don't because its impact on the Berkshires was negligible. As exciting as both a hurricane and an earthquake in the same week would be (locusts are arriving on Wednesday--we just know them as students! ba-dum-dum!--be here all week!), don't expect much as this storm starts to push eastward. We've checked with our usual gang of experts, and we are likely to see some rain on Sunday with a few strong breezes. In snow terms, we talking 4-5 inches not the 12+ inch variety of storm. And really, that's just fine with us as it still is summer vacation.

From our friends at Accuweather.com

We'll keep an eye on it but right now we think Irene will head out of the area faster on Sunday and more to the east.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Long Range Forecast -- August 2011

Greetings, GSD Followers! We hope your summer is going well (or went well as many of you will be checking out this post some time in October or early November), and if you haven't done so yet--here comes the unapologetic plug--you should check out GSD Selects, our new auxiliary pop culture site.

We've been culling through our go-to websites for long-range weather forecasting, and it looks like there is a heated debate in the meteorological community about what kind of winter we're going to have for 2011-12. Some think we're going to revert back to an El Nino winter, while others think we're on board for a mild to moderate La Nina winter. Just to recap: El Nino bad, La Nina good. If you need a refresher, as we're sure you do, head back to this post from last winter. It explains the El Nino/La Nina difference in relatively clear terms.

So, you're asking, what is GSD's official position at this point in the late summer of 2011? We're officially promoting the mild La Nina winter, which means we will see our far share of storms. Hoo--yippee--ray! The GSD staff should be busy this year, and we ought to have enough snow storms, ice storms, and warnings and advisories to keep everyone on pins and needles all winter long.

Check out this map from our new fave website, weatheradvance.com:


If this map is accurate--and theirs was very accurate this time last year--then we should be in for a typically old school awesome New England winter.

We'll try to give everyone a better long range forecast in late September or October. Until then, enjoy your summer, get your summer reading done, and think snow. It's never too early.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Greylock Snow Day presents "GSD Selects"

Miss your GSD? Well, we certainly miss you. Need to pass the time until the first blockbuster storm of the 2011-12 winter season? Then just click on over to "GSD Selects" and see what the GSD Staff has to offer you for your off-season listening, viewing, and reading enjoyment.

Each week (at least), the GSD Staff will select songs, movies, tv shows, websites--you name it--that you just might find interesting. Does this have anything to do with weather? Not really. But it should help you wile away the hours until the original GSD gets cranked up again in November.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

See You Next Fall!

The record-setting 80 degrees we hit yesterday (April 11, 2011) is the final indication that the snow season is officially over for 2010-2011. What an amazing winter it was:

*Around 100 inches of snow in the Berkshires
*Three snow days and three two-hour delays for the GSD district
*Two 18"+ storms
*Countless, edge-of-our-seat near misses
*Snow cover from December right on through March
*Over 50,000 visits to GSD

The GSD staff is now officially on vacation. We'll drop a post every once in a while if we hear any good news about the 2011-12 snow season, and we've had snow as late as May 10th around here so you just never know. For next year, the early word is that we'll be in the La Nina pattern again, which bodes extremely well for us snow lovers.

Don't hesitate to offer up a suggestion for ways to improve GSD by leaving us a comment.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chance of a Delay for 4.4

Even though Friday's huge miss by all weather folks could have been the symbolic Death of Winter for 2010-11, GSD would be remiss if we did not report that there is an outside shot at a delay for Monday April 4th.

The storm will come in from the west and should start around 2 am. It will start as snow, and the Northern Berkshires could get three inches of snow. The problem with these early springs snows is that often the roads are too warm to allow the snow to accumulate. What is likely to occur is that we'll have 2 inches on grassy surfaces but not much to get excited about on the roads.

The snow will change to rain in the morning, so there is no chance of a snow day. As long as there's snow, GSD is committed to keeping you in the know.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wasn't Meant To Be...

Mohawk Regional cancelled school, but that is the only one within our vicinity. Looks like we'll have to suffer through a Friday. Chins up, Followers--the birds will be chirping, the sun will come out, and the leaves will start to be on the trees in no time. We'll all be happier people in June.

The Big Snow Job 4.1

It's snowing and it will continue to snow throughout the morning, but the intensity of this storm just isn't what it was cracked up to be. There was a definite note of compunction in the NOAA discussion this morning as the forecasters feel the models let them down, which let the public down.

There's an outside shot at a snow day because the Warning is still in place and because of the potential for 5-9" of snow. Unfortunately, if you look at the radar, you'll see that there's plenty of moisture to our south but it's not very intense.

So, do we just bite the bullet for a Friday and know that we won't have to tack on an extra day in June? That's what the GSD staff is thinking. A storm may be forming for Tuesday, but after this debacle, we definitely shouldn't get too excited.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Nate Time...

Desperate times call for desperate measures. C'mon, party people--be like Nate and bust out your craziest Snow Day dance moves ever. If we're all in this together, we can make our dreams a reality.

Snow Day Could Be a Bust

We just knew this wouldn't be easy, didn't we? Looks like the joke is definitely now on us as we have to sweat this one out right down to the final hour.

Remember that dartboard we mentioned a few posts ago? Well, the GSD staff is starting to eye it more and more as we slug it out in the war room tonight.

Right now, here's what's working in our favor:

1) The storm will start around midnight or 1 a.m. and in the form of snow for our area/elevation.
2) The heaviest precip will fall in the morning hours between 8 and 12--this is a huge plus in our favor.
3) One recent model jacked the liquid precipitation in Albany back up to 1/2"--for us that would be around 6" inches of snow, which should be enough to get the job done.
4) The radar shows the precip is finally starting to ramp up down along the mid-Atlantic coast.

Here's what's hurting us now:

1) The warm temps.
2) The track is now more east of the original Cape Cod target.
3) It's April Fool's Day.

Gulp.
Do not rest easy on this storm. The pluses do outweigh the minuses, but we're as nervous as an American Idol contestant who's just found out he's in the bottom three. It's a 66% chance we're safe, but that 33% chance seems like a larger number than it actually is.

Not So Fast GSD Followers...

As of  3:30 on Thursday afternoon, the NOAA folks are suddenly singing a different tune. The track of the storm is now supposed to be more toward the east, which means the snow totals will be much lower than originally expected. The good news is that the forecasters still think the heaviest snow will fall over the southern Green Mountains and the Berkshires, with now only 5-12" in the forecast area. Also, the Winter Storm Warning is now in effect starting at midnight, not 6 p.m. as it was previously.

These changes don't seem to change the fact that we're still in for a major snow event for this time of the year. Unfortunately, we do have to downgrade our prediction and give a more rational accounting of the storm. Look at the radar--you'll see the moisture just isn't there yet. Sometimes the radar doesn't lie.

Winter Storm Warning for 4.1

NSW has officially upgraded our storm to a Warning. Snow day now more than likely. Look for 8-12 inches in Northern Berkshire.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Revenge of the Nerds and Other Matters

[skip to the last paragraph if you want the latest storm info]

You ever wonder if somehow this whole meteorological business is some kind of charade--a climatological conspiracy--and that the storm predicted for Friday is a big ol' April Fool's joke? Couldn't you see the Weather Guys and Gals getting together, fabricating a few maps, making up a ridiculous forecast, and roping in the willing public hook, line, and sinker? Isn't it just slightly possible?

Think for a second about the average meteorologist. Probably not the captain of the hockey team or the heartthrob of underclasswomen or the girl who dotted her i's with little smiley faces or hearts. He (more than likely a "he") grew up on the nerd side of the tracks, was familiar with the inside of a high school locker, and often was able to read the label on his tighty-whiteys simply by turning his head and looking behind him.

Wouldn't it be just a like a meteorologist to get his revenge by trying to pull off an April 1st snow storm? Can't you just see them firing off high priority, top-secret emails as they organized this entire ruse? And it does have all the hallmarks of good, old-fashioned geek fun. It's elaborate. It involves technology. The outcome would be relatively harmless. And it would it would give the nerd set the giggles all the way to Memorial Day.

*     *     *     *

It's blasphemy to even go down this path, but most people canvassed by the GSD staff--and a few battle-weary staffers themselves--really don't want a snow day on Friday. So, this is reason #1 that we WILL have a snow day on Friday. Here are a few others:

1. We need to go over the 100" mark with a bang, not a whimper.
2. Most of the students in the GSD following area wore shorts to school on Wednesday thereby angering Old Man Winter.
3. The symbol of summer -- Red Sox baseball -- starts up on Friday.
4. The golf course down the street was just about to open up.
5. Last weekend the snow blower was officially put behind the lawn mower in the shed.
6. Your neighbor just took down the Christmas decorations to put up the Easter eggs in the tree in the front yard.

We're still on track for a snow day on Friday. Visit the last few posts for more useful weather info about the storm. Right now it looks like the precip will start around 8 p.m. tomorrow (perhaps first as rain but changing over). GSD's at a conference tomorrow ("Bringing the Boom Boom--Predicting Spring Thunderstorms") so look for an update in the early a.m. and one around 4 p.m. This is not a guarantee but we're very optimistic.

Channel 13's latest projection.

Midday Report: Snow for 4.1 "Highly Likely"

Spring teams thought they were going to get on the fields over the weekend, but those plans look like they'll have to change.

Here's the latest map from Accuweather:

The current projection.
We're firmly in that 6-12 zone, which will cancel school even if we get the low range amount. Just a few words of caution: the last three storms have been hyped only to fizzle out without much fuss. Meteorologists get a little silly this time of the year and are not afraid to ramp up the excitement just to boost ratings and readership (be assured GSD would never stoop to such lowbrow tactics).

Yet, there are two major differences with this storm that makes it more like the earlier winter blockbusters: 1) "Bombogenesis" will take place--this storm will intensify over a short period of time as it rips up the coast; 2) The origin is from the South, not the upper Midwest, which allows for a nor'easter to form.

 More than likely, we're in for it. Please check out the previous post to get more of the details, which really haven't changed that much.

April Fool's Day Storm Is On (For Now)

Just after midnight last night, the NWS announced a Winter Storm Watch for the Berkshires.The Watch is in effect for midnight Thursday through the evening on Friday.

Many problems still exist with this storm--please see the last post--but the GSD Staff is VERY excited about the prospects of a snow day. We predicted a late season snow day about a month ago, and Mother Nature may indeed be delivering.

NOAA is noting that models are bringing the low closer to the coast, and the storm could and should form into a full-fledged nor'easter. Accuweather has us getting at least 6", and NOAA folks threw out a foot of snow in their discussion.

All we can say right now is, "Hello, Three-Day Weekend!" Many posts to follow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friday Storm (4.1) is No Joke

Just the other day a few GSD staffers started to clean out their desks, put away the long term forecast charts, and put the cover on the ol' GSD Dartboard that we occasionally use to make those really tough decisions.

Well, not so fast GSD staffers! Get your hineys back to work! We're back in the game for a Friday storm.

Here's the scoop, Snoop:

1) storm in the Gulf will slink on over to the Atlantic seaboard where it will start to move north-northeast. Timing looks like Thursday night into Friday morning. Yahtzee!

2) Some models have it going out to sea; others have it hugging the coast. Followers should know by now that we would prefer that the low fully engage the Atlantic coast in a massive Public Display of Affection.

3) Should the storm get cuddly with the coast, look for rain for New York, New London, and Boston but "significant heavy, wet snow" in the interior portions of New England. The downside on this potential storm is that the shoveling will be tortuous on the lower back. Proactive GSD Followers should call in for their physical therapy appointments right now.

4) Not as good news #1 -- the high pressure over us right now is weak (relative to midwinter storms) and might get bumped out of the way too quickly by the low pressure coming from the coast. This would mean a rain event.

5) Not as good news #2 -- because of the warmer air that will be in place, it really has to come down hard to get the accumulation on the roadways we need for a delay or cancellation.

A very promising scenario via Accuweather.

It's too early to make a call right now. Once we see a few more updates from the models--and once the staff returns their desks to their normal, midwinter mode--we'll let you know the A-1, genuine real deal. And we aren't foolin'.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3.24 We Hardly Knew Ya

Storm 3.24 has officially lost its spirit on the way to New England. The low moved to the coast of New Jersey but bye-bye, there she goes out to sea. Yet another near miss.

It's easy to conclude that if a delay or snow day didn't happen this week, then it just isn't meant to be. But around these parts, we should know better than to give up hope. We've had measurable snow all the way into May, so you just never know. April snow showers will bring those May flowers.

High Pressure Holds On -- Moisture Drying Up

Look at the radar and the snow should have been falling hours ago. Look out your window--alas, often the best weather predictor--and nothing, nada, zilch. Just got word (5 pm) that snow has started in Albany, which means it won't be long now for the GSD-following area.

The big, huge bummer is that some of the models are calling for less than a quarter of an inch of liquid precipitation, which translates to a snow total of under 4". This news is not so great for the grand plans we had for our extra two hours on Thursday morning.

Radar at 5:10 PM courtesy of WC
 Be that as it may, GSD is holding out hope. We're going to get some overriding moisture from the low when it hits the coast, and the air will stay cold enough overnight for the snow to stick on all surfaces. Maybe--just maybe--the snow will stick around to mid-morning tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for significant intensification.

Timing Questions Loom for 3.24

According to the radar, as of 10:00 am on Wednesday it should be snowing. Unfortunately, the high pressure that is in place is drying up the snow before it can hit the ground. Once the high pressure system budges and starts to recede to the north and east, the snow will come down. A WWA has been posted for Southern Berkshire but not the North.

A big problem for the potential of a snow day tomorrow is the dreaded timing. It looks like the storm is going to arrive too quickly, giving crews plenty o' time to clear off the roadways. GSD still thinks we'll get a good 4-5" out of this late season storm, but it just might not be enough to gum up the works tomorrow morning.

We blame Paul Caiano for this forecast, but thanks anyway, WNYT.

The good news is that the track and amount of moisture is still unclear, and the back end of the storm does track all the way back to Minnesota (and it is moving eastward). It will be a shocker if many teams can get out and practice this afternoon, and, as for the snow day tomorrow, GSD advises that you temper your excitement for now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Snow Totals Predictions on the Up and Up 3.24

Coming out of the Midwest Region, seeded #11 after a late season swoon, it's America's favorite team, Winter, making a surprise appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. Yessirree, Winter is back, baby, and in the zone. They teased us with a little 2-incher on Monday, but now Winter is ready for a more serious rumble on Thursday.

The NOAA folks are calling for a more northerly track for a storm, and good ol' Bob Kovachik at Channel 13 has the Northern Berkshires safely in the 5-8" zone. Give me a B! Give me an O! Give me a B!

You the man, Bob.
Needless to say, the staff at GSD is all a-flutter. We certainly can't ensure a snow day at this early juncture, and there's an awful lot that can go wrong with this storm, but we're clicking the Like Box for a delay on Thursday. We'll know more by tomorrow at noon when GSD will give a more trustworthy final pronouncement on the storm.

Possible Delay for Thursday 3.24

Snow will move into our area Wednesday afternoon or early evening, and right now it looks like we're in the 3" range. The NOAA Albany forecasters think the storm is going to track too far to the south. Areas south of us could get hit with a moderate snowfall, but according to NOAA, the Berks would only see an inch or so.

Over at Accuweather the forecast is more encouraging, and they've put us in the 3-6" range. Now that's more like it. This storm definitely has more moisture, so it wouldn't be surprising to see 3-5". The timing might be too early for a snow day or delay, but if the low can re-form higher up the Atlantic coast, then we'll see the snow hold on longer and give us a much better chance of a delay. This will be a 12 to 18 hour event. You're rooting for 18 hours for this one.

Courtesy of Accuweather
Things can definitely change but there appears to be enough moisture and cold air for something good to happen Thursday morning. High schools will need to have a plan B for MCAS testing should there be a delay.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wed/Thurs Storm?? (3.23-24)

It looks like today's storm (Monday) arrived about five hours too late for it to impact school. We keep missing by a few hours with the last several precipitation makers. This one should end between 2 and 3 this afternoon and give us close to 3 inches.

For those who want one more snow day, Thursday just might be the day. But we emphasize "might." A low will form off the coast of New Jersey and move snow into our area Wednesday afternoon and into the night. The low is supposed to glide past us to the south, but there's a long shot of a chance that the storm could intensify along the coast. We'll definitely see light snow on Wednesday night, but the potential for moderate and even heavy snow exists. GSD is not overly optimistic at this point in the proceedings, but we'll keep a watchful eye on the forecasts in the next few days. This could be a late bloomer of a storm so you'll need to check in often on Wednesday.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Into Snowboots -- Advisory for 3.21

Spring has almost sprung. The grass is now actually visible. Daffodil heads are emerging from the soil. The twittering of robins is in the air.

But did you know that Mother Nature's favorite literary device is irony? The Grande Dame of the Earth Ball has decided to throw a little snow our way just as the clocks are turning from winter to spring. The NWS has posted a Winter Weather Advisory from 2 am to 8 pm on Monday. Three to six inches is the latest snow prediction.

We at GSD know that people are just about finished with winter, but the reality is that there's a decent chance of a delay tomorrow. The intensity of the snow could be a limiting factor--it just might not come down hard enough to merit delaying or canceling bus runs tomorrow.

We're going with a safe 33% on the delay and a long, long shot of a snow day. We'll keep you informed should we learn more in the evening hours.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wintry Mix for 3.16

Wintry mix is in the forecast as Old Man Winter--now officially on life support--wheezes into early spring. Look for the roads to get a coating overnight, but we will have certainly seen worse in the last few weeks without any delay. We're throwing a delay on the radar screen but only to cover ourselves in case a miracle happens.

We still think we're going to see one more serious snowy threat from the white-bearded one, but we're thinking early April.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Snow Holds On but Delay Unlikely

The good news is that it's snowing at 5:30 in Northern Berkshire. The bad news is that roads only have the lightest of coatings. The delay is still a possibility--there is sleet mixed in right now--but the reality is that roads are easily passable. Keep your fingers crossed, but you probably shouldn't hit that snooze button a few extra times in hopes of the delay.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Snow Totals Decreasing for 3.10

For fans of the snow day, we're definitely in a rough weather patch. The snow totals have been lowered by most weather forecasters, and it looks to this seasoned weather reporter as if the snow-to-rain change will happen before the morning commute.

It's 33.4 degrees at the GSD Home Office right now (6 pm Wednesday), and it's never a good sign when the storm starts with temps above freezing. So, we still will hold out some hope for a delay but we're going to greatly reduce our expectations. Sorry everyone, but the show must go on.

Heavy rain still for tomorrow afternoon--Flood Watch in effect as we speak.

Skinny on Storm 3.10

Here are the latest developments:

Most forecasters are predicting 1-4" of snow for our area. More snow will fall in the northern part of the county, thereby increasing the chance of a delay.
Some forecasters are forecasting a longer period of ice as the snow transitions to rain. Ice, of course, is gold, and if the timing is right for the ice--say, between 4 and 6 am--then we could be in business for a delay.
All precip will become rain by midday at the latest on Thursday. Expect heavy rain Thursday afternoon and evening.

Regardless of what the forecast models say, a simple look at the radar will reveal that: A) there's a ton of moisture associated with this storm; B) the track of the storm will allow warm air to move in to area fairly rapidly. As a result of these truths of the storm, GSD is ruling out any chance of a snow day, but the delay remains very much a possibility. Look for a Winter Weather Advisory later today and then Flood Warnings for tomorrow and Friday.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Snow For Wednesday Night

A big storm will move into our area tomorrow night and bring snow for the all-important morning commute on Thursday. We will likely see 3-5 inches of snow, which is certainly delay worthy. Given the dicey morning commutes we've had these past two weeks, the super is likely feeling some pressure to finally appease the masses and get a call absolutely correct. On the meter, we're moving the super to agreeable, keeping the snow fall at moderate, and the timing stays at excellent. With these three ingredients in place, a delay is highly likely.

The big "IF" is the timing of the shift from snow to rain, which will definitely happen. At this point the GSD staff is confident that the ol' switcheroo will take place after the morning commute (8 or 9 am). Because of this switch, it's unlikely that we will have a snow day. Heavy rain will move into the area in the afternoon from a developing coastal low, and we could get up to 3" of rain. Yikes. Break out the high rubber boots and small water crafts.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just Missed (Again)

For the second week in a row, we missed a two-hour delay by about 90 minutes. Last week's road were terrible after 8:00, and today things were definitely dicey when we all headed out to school. The freezing rain was much stronger than any of us predicted, as reports of a 1/4" of ice were not uncommon this morning. Some power lines were down, and most people had a devil of a time getting their vehicles open let alone cleaned off.

Accuweather has predicted 1-3" of snow for the Northern Berkshires today. That ain't happenin'. We might see a half-inch more from the left-overs of the storm, but that's about it.

We do need to keep our eye on Thursday morning. The next system will move in Wednesday night, and it will certainly be cold enough to give us snow in the beginning (from 10 pm on, roughly). Then, the shift to freezing rain will take place during the morning commute, although it's unlikely we'll have the heavy coating of ice that we received today. Then, the storm will become all rain by the late morning hours. The NOAA folks are talking about a significant amount of precipitation, which could mean 6+ inches of snow. Also, the storm would be a coastal event, which raises our chances even more for a full day off or a delay. The GSD staff is on it will get you the right information as it happens.

Delays Surround Area

Most schools to the west and north have at least a delay, but no such luck for Berkshire County. The storm couldn't quite penetrate our area, but roads this morning have a light coating of ice that crews have been treating since the early a.m. hours.

Drive safely because school's in session.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Snow Will Fall Overnight 3.6 / 3.7

The rain will come down heavily today with a strong possibility of flooding because of the rain and the melting snow. The changeover to snow will occur after midnight. Because the air is so warm right now, the snow will take its time sticking to the roads, which is not helping our chances. Also, the window for snow will be brief as the frontal line pushes through our area. We are supposed to get only a few inches out of this storm, so there is virtually no chance of a snow day and only an outside chance at a delay. Updates to follow later in the day.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Let's Make a Deal for Storm 3.7

Greetings, GSD Followers. The folks at NOAA are now predicting three scenarios for the Sunday-into-Monday storm. Behind curtain number one:  heavy rain on Sunday changes over to snow Sunday late at night and significant snowfall will accumulate during the morning hours on Monday. Behind curtain number two: heavy rain on Sunday but the storm accelerates through our area and leaves us with little (if any) snow on Monday. Behind curtain number three: Storm stalls out on Sunday and Monday giving us all rain through the afternoon hours on Monday, with significant flooding as a result.

And, according to NOAA forecasters, the winner is curtain number....ONE!

We are eager to see how this one develops, but this forecast is enough to put a snow day in play for Monday, with an even greater chance of a delay. Put that bookmark for GSD at the top of the favorites list because you're going to want to click in often throughout the weekend.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chance for Monday 3.7

A Monday delay or snow day should definitely be part of your thinking over the weekend. We have rain showers headed our way on Saturday, heavier rain for Sunday, and then that rain looks like it will turn over to snow for Monday. The timing of the conversion will be the determining factor, and right now the good folks of NOAA are speaking the language we like to hear: the conversion will occur in the overnight hours Sunday into Monday. The big question will be if there is enough moisture at the end of the storm to give us hazardous driving conditions for the morning commute.

GSD will stay on top of it and give you the latest as the storm takes shape.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Relatively Quiet Week Ahead

Hear that? That's the sound of the GSD staff twiddling their collective thumbs. We were about two hours late on the Monday storm, as the roads were reportedly dicey from about 8-10 am. We do have a nice pop of cold air moving in for Thursday (high of 20), and then we'll ease right back into the mid to upper 30s all the way through the end of next week.

We have some flurries and snow showers in the near future, but once again only enough snow cover to hide those lethal icy patches we warned you about a few weeks ago.

We could see rain turning to ice on Monday. The long range forecasters are feeling less certain about those prospects, but we'll keep half an eye on it for now. Realistically, we probably have to wait all the way until Friday 3.11 for the next chance of some kind of school day truncation. Boy, were we spoiled earlier this winter.

Chins up, peeps. Old Man Winter's still among us. We still have all of March left, and with this kind of la nina winter, you know something will be in the works for April.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Plain Old Rain for 2.28

Looks like the storm has lifted just enough to the north to make today's weather maker a rain only event. We might see a little sleet early on but it will rain and rain hard today. The rest of the week looks dry--we'll shift our attention to next week and the few disturbances that have been predicted.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter Weather Advisory for 2.28

GSD Staffers were temporarily distracted by the Oscars, but we're happy to say that we're back, we're zoned in, and we have encouraging news to report. The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for our area to begin at 1 am Monday, with about an inch of snow and ice to hit at the perfect time: during the 4-6 am decision window.

As we know from Friday's storm, the track will be the key. If it stays snow longer, then a delay is more certain. If the storm quickly shifts to rain (and it will definitely switch to all rain at some point), then buses will role on time. GSD staffers are in disagreement about this one, and we may need until early tomorrow morning to make the final call. As of now, we're bumping the chance of a delay up significantly.

GSD will keep an eye on things--we'll report again in the AM.

Rain Rain Go Away

Heavy rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, which could lead to significant flooding because of the melting that will occur.

There is an outside chance of a delay as the precipitation could start out as ice in the overnight hours, but GSD thinks town road crews will be able to manage the wintry precip without any problem.

We'll update this evening if there are any developments in our favor.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Storms but No MSEs in Sight

Yesterday's storm (Friday) would have certainly resulted in a snow day given the timing and the much better than expected volume. Conditions were rough during the morning commute.

So, what's up next? Looks like a few more inches tonight, rain on Monday, a few snow showers toward the end of the week, a snow/ice mix for Saturday, and then again the same combo for Monday 3.7. Our best chance for a snow day is on Monday, March 7th.

The reason these disturbances are so weak is that they are coming from the West or the Mississippi valley. There is no trough in the jet stream right now to allow the storms to form in the Gulf and move up along the Atlantic seaboard. Also, with this pattern there's too much warm air is in place to give us a blockbuster snow storm.

Fortunately, the pattern is very active and more winter weather is in the pipeline. As yesterday's storm revealed to us, there are plenty of opportunities left yet for seemingly innocuous storms to blossom into moderate and heavy snows.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter Weather for Friday 2.25

The forecast for Friday is a messy one. If school had been in session this week, there would be a strong possibility for at least a delay, as the storm is supposed to be developing in the overnight hours Thursday into Friday. The computer models are predictably all over the place, but the possibility for heavy snow exists on Friday for the Northern Berkshires. Right now there is a Winter Storm Watch for southern Vermont, and we might see at least an Advisory if not a WSW for our area. That announcement should come some time during the day tomorrow, as some models have the cold air hanging on long enough to make it a mostly snow event. Realistically, though, the storm will start out as snow, change over to some kind of mixed precip (including rain), and then turn back to snow before the end of the day on Friday. Not a huge snowmaker, but we could see upwards of 4 inches. Activities and events on Saturday will not be jeopardized by this storm.

Thank you, Accuweather.

As for the Monday delay possibility, GSD advises that you not hold your breath. The storm is not coming together the way we anticipated. But don't get too down in the dumps just yet. You can start to turn your attention to next Friday (3.4) to get you through the school week. Once again, another round of snow/ice is in the forecast. A three-day weekend after a week of vacation? That would be a nice way to re-acclimate ourselves to the grind as we try to make our way through the often challenging month of March.

GSD urges caution out on the roads this Friday morning, and we'll post any new developments about Monday 2.28 (unlikely) and Friday 3.4 (likely) over the weekend.

Keep the faith, Flake Followers. There's definitely a lot of winter weather still to come our way.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday 2.28 Storm Requires Attention

After a pleasant dusting of snow last night to clean things up*, it looks like a return to absurdly normal late winter weather. Temps will be in the high 20s to high 30s, but nighttime lows will be close to zero in the early part of the week. It will not be uncommon to see temp swings of 25 degrees or more in a twenty-four hour period. Sugar people LOVE to see this trend, so even if we don't have any pressing major storms, at least the maple syrup production will be high. And perhaps the second best thing to a snow day or delay, in the opinion of this GSD staffer, is a stack of buttermilk pancakes drowning in New England's nectar.

The week will be relatively quiet, but things will start to percolate as we near the weekend. GSD sees a snowy rainy mess on Friday, and then some form of disturbance on Monday. Its shape is still undefined, but we're thinking ice. No sense rushing right back into the grind after a vacation, right? So, even though we're a week away, GSD is calling for a good chance of a delay on Monday. That's the truth, Ruth, and ain't nobody changing our minds. (Until Uncle Bob or Joe Bastardi tells us otherwise.)

*Wasn't last night's snow just special? Didn't it just prettify things so nicely? Hogwash. Lurking beneath that virginal blanket of snow is the smoothest, meanest, nastiest ice from Friday's melt down. Think you can just prance along on that one-inch snow cover and get away with it? Think again, friends. GSD strongly advices Yaktrax AND elbow pads. Beware the dangers lurking beneath!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Good News for March

Even though the pipeline of major storms has been reduced to a measly trickle, GSD is seeing great signs for a very active late February and March. Accuweather's long-range forecaster Joe Bastardi has revealed that March and April could be two of the wildest months of the year. Last year we experienced warmer than average temps in March and April, but that is definitely not going to be the case this year. A cold March means a stormy March, with lots of potentially nicey-dicey-icy storms. Tempestuous to say the least.

Already we're looking at two disturbances during vacation week, and possibly Mother Nature serving up her version of Neapolitan ice cream with snow, sleet, and rain all together for the Monday after the break. GSD sees strong indications of at least one major storm in the month of March as a result of the predicted atmospheric turmoil.

Remember the Storm of the Century on March 12-13 of 1993? Probably not, but we at GSD sure do.
Storm o' the Century -- March 12-13, 1993
 The storm was hyped as a storm of historic proportions and blasted the eastern seaboard. The Berkshires did not feel the brunt but still received about a foot of snow. Worcester and points northeast piled up 20+ inches. Are we due for a late winter blast? Our eyes are wide open.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wind Then Cold Then Warm

High wind warnings are up for the area tonight--we could see gusts into the 40 mph range, which is certainly enough to cause localized power outages.  The only chance of seeing a delay tomorrow would through a power outage. Because the chance is so minuscule, it doesn't even register on the Confidence Meter.

The temps will drop like a stone overnight. While it will be cold tomorrow and gusty, GSD did not think the State Cross Country Ski championship should have postponed. The last we checked, skiing was a winter sport. We assumed outdoor winter athletes and their coaches knew how to prepare for winter weather. Perhaps MIAA officials need to get out of the office more often.

After tomorrow, we'll be back in the 40s and may hit 50 by Friday.

The very good news is that Accuweather has put a few storms in its long-range forecast for the Berkshires. Friday of vacation looks like our next plowable snow event, and also Monday (the first day back from vacation). GSD likes the vibe of the Monday 2.28 storm already and will keep a keen eye on it during the break. Keep your fingers crossed, as there's nothing better than that one-day vacation extension.

Video Contest's Epic Finish

Now that was as crazy as a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Video of Experience had a commanding lead going into the weekend, but somehow the Wunderkind, Nate the Great, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and he emerged with the GSD video title. Like a homeowner on an ice dam, he just chipped and chipped and chipped away until the lead was his. We haven't seen a comeback like this since the Red Sox in 2004.

 

Both videos are a shoe-in to be remembered at GSD for many years to come, and we'll be sure to pull out the Video of Innocence when we need to increase our fortunes for a snow day. Speaking of a snow day...
We hate to wheel out ol' Grumpy Puss, but there is absolutely diddly-squat on the storm horizon. [Sniff. Sniff. Sigh.] But turn those frowns upside down, GSD Followers, because the ever-popular, ever-superfluous, ever-outdated February break is right around the corner. Boogity boogity boogity--let's go racing! Nine glorious days of skiing, car shopping, movie-watching, staying up late, and other zany shenanigans await.

Of course, GSD still will be surveying the radar round the clock should there be any snow developments during the break or just after. As always, we've got your back.

Friday, February 11, 2011

O Snow Storms Where Art Thou?

Just like that, the storm pattern we were enjoying has dried up. The well is dry, the jig is up, the goose is cooked, the fruit is withering on the vine. We're staring at an unprecedented run of consecutive school days without a cancellation or delay and GSD no likey. Mercifully, vacation is right around the corner. GSD strongly urges Father Winter to use the break to regroup, to find his center, and to start to deliver more disturbances for the end of the month and the first part of March. Sure we've been spoiled, but more winter now please.

Snow will fall this weekend and early next week, but we're looking at showers and not much sustained snow activity. Very weak ACs are set to cruise over us in the next three or four days. We may get up to two inches from them, but there's really nothing to get jacked up about at the moment. Temps will climb close to 40 for the back end of next week, but we won't see grass for some time yet.

Keep voting for the video contest--it's neck and neck. Voting ends on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Video Contest Finalists

Many of you regular followers of GSD have already checked these videos out, but the official voting period is now upon us. It's an epic Blakean battle, and we need you to decide whom we're going to call upon when we need a little boost to get us the coveted snow day.

Video of Innocence:


Video of Experience:


The polls are open all week. Alas, we won't be needing the Confidence Meter very much for the next few days so we'll put the voting booth there. Huge thanks to the entrants for getting into the snow spirit!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Advisory Extended to 6 PM

Had we known ahead of time that the storm would create this lake effect-like snow we've been having all day, the wise decision might have been to cancel school. Rule #24 of snow day predicting--it's all about the build-up. Case in point: storm 2.2. There was so much anticipation and certainty established by NWS, local meteorologists, and this blog that the snow day on Wednesday became an inevitability. Today's storm, by contrast, had a snowman-in-a-greenhouse's chance of resulting in any kind of truncation or cancellation of school. Simply no build-up.What's amazing is that we will get more snow from the storm last night and the lake effect today than we did from the 2.2 storm. That's why predicting snow days is not just about the science. We at GSD pride ourselves in taking in the whole landscape before we make our decision.


Even though NWS extended the advisory, you'll start to see the skies get brighter and snow showers will be intermittent this afternoon and evening. Afternoon activities should not (or ought not) to be affected. Beware the return of Freeze-miser--we'll get to zero or below for the next few nights. Bundle up!

Delay 2.8 Unlikely

With only two or three inches on the ground, and the radar showing the precipitation to be very light, it looks like the delay is on life support. If students and staff could drive home without incident in the conditions of the early release day, then those same people can get to school on time in these much milder conditions.

NWS has issued a special statement about hazardous driving conditions in Northern Berkshire this morning, so drivers do need to be extra cautious, but GSD thinks that the road crew managers are telling the super to proceed with a regularly scheduled transportation schedule. Berlin and New Lebanon are in with delays as of 5:11 am, so there's some hope still, but a full week of school is almost a certainty.