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

Monday, January 31, 2011

2.1 Storm Will Start Early

Things are hopping in the GSD-following area. A quick shout out to the avid followers in SoCo, and a congratulations to Lenox and Southern Berkshire [and now Lee, Pittsfield, and Berkshire Hills -- ed.] who are already dialed in for the early release tomorrow. That's a good job by you guys down South. More districts will go that route before the evening is over, and even more will make the same decision for an early release tomorrow morning. It will be the trendy call for most schools tomorrow.

Here's what the GSD wants for this Groundhog Day Blizzard 2011: the royal flush--the snowy trinity--of snow day decisions. Tuesday--early release; Wednesday--full snow day; Thursday--two-hour delay.* Oh baby, now we're talking! The GSD Research Department has looked high and low in the record books and has not been able to find a previous MSE that has created the elusive frozen triple play.

As exciting as the royal flush would be, there's a better chance that this storm will bring the two-day snow day. Sayonora and adios to June vacation days! TWC has the snow beginning around 4:00 am, which we know is prime time for our region's supers. Begrudgingly, they may be forced to call a snow day even though the snow tomorrow will only be moderate. Regardless, you can forget about any practices, games, rehearsals, or performances tomorrow night.

Courtesy of Accuweather, as always.


The storm will hit in two phases. Phase one begins early tomorrow and will bring the whole county around 6". We think 4 am is a little early for a predicted start for the county, which puts the early release very much in play tomorrow for almost everyone in the region. The second phase of the storm (the coastal low) will kick in much later on in the evening (after midnight), and that's when Father Winter will bring the cheese for real--over a foot of snow. This is a two-shovel storm--once Tuesday evening and again around midday on Wednesday. When NOAA says to get out the yardsticks to measure the snow, you can safely put away the homework for the evening.

Wednesday will be a snow day--the $60 question is tomorrow. GSD is confident that schools will call the early release, and many will just throw in the towel and say, "See you on Thursday." The latest look at the radar (7:30 pm Monday) has the snow about 10 hours away, so tomorrow's morning decision will be dicey for supers. We think most will try to power through at least part of the day knowing that Wednesday's a fait accompli.

*See commenter on the previous post who was way out in front with the triple play call--GSD is still hiring! Keep the comments coming.

It's On -- Storm 2.1 and 2.2

The blockbuster event is on its way. Fifteen to thirty inches over the next two days. The GSD staff is still gathering data about not one but two snow days. We'll post again by 8:00 pm Monday to give the definitive snow day forecast.

WSW for Tuesday & Wednesday

The NWS issued a Winter Storm Watch at 3:39 this morning, which is calling for 3" to 8" with the possibility of a two-day total of over a foot of powder. Accuweather has us down for 13.7 inches of snow. These are excellent signs as we move within 36 hours of the storm. Look for the Watch to become a Warning in the next 12 to 18 hours.  It definitely looks like the white stuff is a-comin'--start making your plans. Snow should start tomorrow afternoon.

Perfect track.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Storm 2.2 Still on Track

Break out the barometers, folks, because all signs are pointing to a moderate to heavy snowfall for Tuesday night into Wednesday. The timing couldn't be better. Ice and wet snow may work into the storm for the Berkshires, which would keep snow totals down, but whether we get 6" or 12", it sounds like the morning commute on Wednesday is going to be a disaster. Yee-ha!


We're still 48 hours away...don't get too excited...the track could change...we got burned last time...blah, blah, blah. GSD likes the sound of "Groundhog Day Blizzard 2011," and right now we're just going to get crazy and throw caution to the wind: we're calling for 6" to 9" of snow, and if the storm does what it's supposed to do, we'll have all day to get a jump on those early third quarter assignments or work on any research papers you might have due in a few weeks.

Here's some extra info from NOAA. Snow totals for the last ten years for Albany:

RECENT SEASONAL SNOWFALL FOR ALBANY NY:
2009-10:  45.4 INCHES
2008-09:  52.6 INCHES
2007-08:  61.1 INCHES
2006-07:  45.9 INCHES
2005-06:  30.2 INCHES
2004-05:  75.9 INCHES
2003-04:  65.1 INCHES
2002-03: 105.4 INCHES
2001-02:  47.4 INCHES
2000-01:  77.1 INCHES

 As of this morning, we're at 47.2" for the season in Albany. With two more storms in the chamber, it looks like this winter could blow away snow totals all the way back to 2002-3.


Storm 2.2 Could Be "Boffo"

The GSD staff is out in central New York doing some field research to get a better sense of the terrain through which our ACs pass. There's some light snow out here, and the snow cover looks eerily similar to the Berkshires'. Shockingly, we've discovered it's snowy and cold out here.

More and more signs are pointing toward an MSE for Wednesday and perhaps into Thursday. The storm will dip down out of the Rockies toward the South and then bend back up toward the Northeast by following the lead blocking of the jet stream. The storm will gain in strength as it sucks in moisture from the Gulf, and then the moisture could be enhanced by the formation of the coastal low on the mid-Atlantic. We've seen this pattern before. The snowfall totals and timing will all depend on the track of the storm. Right now, the jet stream would push a storm out to sea to our south, but the models are showing that the jet stream could shift northward at the beginning of next week, which would mean a major snow or ice event for the Berkshires.

Meteorologist Evan Myers from Accuweather says we could be in store for "another one of those boffo snowstorms." (Watch his very encouraging forecast here.) "Boffo" is a word you don't hear too often these days, but GSD strongly endorses the revitalization of this word, especially as it relates to midweek snowstorms.

We'll post tomorrow to let you know the latest developments.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Accuweather Touts Groundhog Day Storm (2.2)

Accused: Accuweather

Crime: Hyperbole

Evidence: [today's Accuweather headline] "Groundhog Day Storm May Affect 100 Million People"

Thanks, Accuweather!
And GSD thought it was prone to ramping up predictions in the name of drama and greater following. Geesh.

We're definitely encouraged by this report, but GSD is not falling for these meteorological shenanigans so easily. Let us review the indisputable facts: We've had seven big predicted storms since the beginning of the season. The first two in December missed us to the south, the next three hit us, and the last storm pooped out at the end. Three for six is a pretty good day at the dish for Jacoby Ellsbury, but--newsflash, peeps--weather isn't baseball.

Sorry again all you GSD Followers, but we think the storm will head out to sea for time number five. (The NOAA gang back us up on this forecast as well--try to siphon through this mumbo jumbo if you're up for it.) Will we be surprised if the storm curls to the north and wallops us? Of course not. But we're certainly not holding our breath just yet. There's no question it bears watching, but prepare for the reality of another full week of school. "April is the cruelest month"? We'll agree to disagree, Mr. Eliot.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rumors Flurrying About...

The best we can do for you, kids, is to perpetuate a few rumors. Allegedly, conservative Paul Caiano mentioned oh-rather-casually in passing  that there might be something in the works for Tuesday. We'll see about that, won't we.

Then, we might have a bigger system for next weekend. Yawn. Weekend storm. Whoop-di-do.

GSD is not feeling the love for Father Winter right now. Yes, we've been spoiled, but hopefully things will kick into gear over the weekend and we'll be blessed with wintry mess. We did post this report not too long ago, so we're thinking things will turn in our favor soon.

Keep the faith, ye Followers of the Flake.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter...

So, Storm 1.27, we spend all this time with you, follow you from your infancy, nurture you into existence, watch you come of age down there on the coast, and then when your big day is supposed to happen, this is how you treat us? This is how you play us?

We're not angry with you, young man. We're just very disappointed.

So, now what do we do, Mr. Storm 1.27? Should we just wait around for your malnourished little Alberta Clipper friend who might grace us with his wimpy presence over the weekend? No thanks, we'll pass. Because we thought you were the one, Storm 1.27. You had the juice, the swagger, the pizazz. But you're dead to us now.

Rumor has it your cousin 2.5 could be coming around next week. Oh, I think we'll like him alright, but let's hope he's planning on arriving here a day early. In the meantime--just in case--we'll get the guest room ready.

Latest Storm 1.27 Update

We regret to inform you...our storm is on life support. The South County WSW has been reduced to a Winter Weather Advisory, and they're only supposed to get 2-4 inches at the most.


 The storm seems to be bifurcating--we may get a coating from the first part of the storm this afternoon, and if we get anything at all out of the second part later tonight, it will only be a few inches at most.

We'll try to raise everyone's spirits with a look ahead to the next big weather-makers in a posting later today. In the meantime, go out and enjoy the great snow base that we have. The skiing and snowshoeing have been excellent, and with the recent warming we've had, the sledding runs should be super slick.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

South County Gets Winter Storm Watch

Earlier this afternoon, the NWS issued a Winter Storm Watch for Southern Berkshire county. GSD foresees a Winter Weather Advisory for Northern Berkshire at some point in the overnight hours or tomorrow before noon.

Back in early January, the Friday 1.7 storm started out as just a small clipper system and then became a storm with an advisory. Within a few hours the NWS ramped it up to a Winter Storm Watch--and all this  happened in rapid succession about twelve hours before the storm. So, what we're saying is, there's still a fighting chance. With a WSW in South County, the storm track just needs to nudge northward 50 miles and we could be back in business. Don't get too excited, but don't sleep on this storm either.

It should be a lively day at GSD. The staff is caffeined up and ready for a long night of watching models and reading reports. Updates aplenty during the day tomorrow.

Storm 1.27 To Make Quick Exit

Looks like the snow party scheduled for Wednesday into Thursday is going to be more of a pre-dinner cocktail party than the all-night bender we were anticipating. Sorry, all you loyal Followers of the Flake. The chance of a snow day is still present, but the two-hour delay is looking like a more realistic outcome.

The storm will move from the Gulf to the Atlantic and then scoot out south of Cape Cod. It sounds like the cut-off line for moderate/heavy snow and very light snow will be extremely distinct. You could see an inch or two in Northern Berkshire but Pittsfield could get hit with 5-7". NOAA Albany forecasters think that the snow will top out around 8" in Litchfield (CT) County--this is not a good sign for a significant snow for the top end of the Berkshires.

Just not enough.
For those of you still holding out hope for an MSE, you should concentrate on the track. As a destitute gambler once said, "Only the track can save us now." If the low moves closer to Cape Cod, there's enough energy and moisture to shoot our predicted snow totals up in a hurry. We at GSD haven't quit on Storm 1.27 yet, but we have scaled way back on the balloons and party favors for this week's winter shindig.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More, Better Evidence for Storm 1.27

The major weather outlets are still acting like a bunch of bickering siblings. Accuweather and NOAA are firm in their big storm predictions; Channel 13 and TWC are almost poo-pooing the storm. C'mon, 13 and TWC--everybody's doing it. It's okay to forecast a big storm. Like, what's your problem? (Eyes rolled for emphasis.)

Check out this little gem from the folks at NOAA:

THERE REMAINS UNCERTAINTY WITH REGARDS TO OUR NEXT COASTAL LOW BUT
THE MODELS HAVE COME INTO BETTER AGREEMENT AND CONTINUE TO
INDICATE THE POTENTIAL FOR MESOSCALE BANDING TO OCCUR.
 
First, it's good to see that at least the models are behaving nicely and getting along. But you probably want to know what "mesoscale banding" is. To put it simply, GSD strongly endorses mesoscale banding. Banding shows up on the radar in those waves or swaths of dark blue. Typically in a nor'easter, the storm takes the shape of a big comma and the bands are waves of heavy precipitation extending from the center low pressure point of the storm. A good band can produce snowfall rates of 2-4" per hour. When you get those alternating periods of intense snow and then lighter snow, your area is being banded.

A nice image of mesoscale banding during the Blizzard of Feb. 13, 2006, courtesy of NYNJPAWeather.
If Thursday's storm were stock, GSD would rate it a STRONG BUY. And then you could turn around and use your earnings to purchase a brand new snow blower because you'll need it next week and the week after.

Storm 1.27 (Thursday) Taking Shape

The GSD staff is feeling a lot like the audience at the end of Inception--we're mostly confused. First, this morning went haywire and got us all flustered, and now the blockbuster storm de week is sending so many confusing signals we feel like we're trying to read Navajo code.

So, we'll keep it simple and just give you this picture. We think you'll like this picture. Paul Caiano and Danny Downer have not been asked to help plan the snow day party:

We haven't used this image before. It just feels that way.

We wish we knew more, but this map certainly will raise everyone's spirits. Snow will move into the area tomorrow from an unconnected disturbance via the Midwest, but it won't be enough to threaten school.
The conclusion from our most recent GSD staff meeting is that the real storm will start on Wednesday afternoon and go right into the morning commute on Thursday. Keep your eye on the Confidence Meter--changes will be coming.

Storm of Confusion -- District IS in a Two-Hour Delay

Wow. That was pretty exciting for a Monday morning. Forget the are-we-or-aren't-we-on-a-delay controversy--you should have seen the demolition derby taking shape in the HS school parking lot this morning at 7:45 as parents were rushing to get their children to school and away from school simultaneously. It was a free-for-all!

So, after all has been said and done, we are in a two-hour delay. Hats off to the GSD follower and commenter who initially called for the cold day delay and/or cancellation yesterday. (But put those hats right back on because you're bound to get frostbite.)

Let's re-enact the crime scene: WES robo-calls a delay because of cold buses at 7:10 (all times are approximations), and we're assuming LES and Hancock got in on the act at this point as well. MGRHS robo-calls homes at 7:15 saying buses are struggling and no students should wait outside but school is open. MGRHS two-hour delay appears on Channels 10 and 13 at 7:21, but by this time many students are at the school or on the way there. Students are greeted at the doors of MGRHS and told they have a delay; they immediately call mom and dad on the cell, who promptly pull a u-turn and take their children home for a few hours. And that's where we are now.

I'm sure there are many lessons to be learned from this debacle. Perhaps the district and the bus company should have a set plan in place once the thermometer goes below -10 degrees Fahrenheit or -12 or whatever the magic number is. GSD would hate to see an entire day called off for cold, but had we all known about the extra two hours earlier, everyone could have found a way to adapt and get to school. GSD likes the Lenox plan, which was to offer no bus transportation at all for the morning run but keep school open for its regular hours.

It is what it is. Let's put it behind us and focus on Thursday's storm.

More Cold Casualties

The plot thickens this morning as Williamstown Elementary delays for two hours because the buses wouldn't start. GSD was under the impression that the WES buses were the same ones used by the high school.

As this post was being constructed, the high school robo-call did come in warning parents to keep their children indoors until the bus showed up, or parents should drive their children to school. School is open but it definitely sounded like a delay for the HS was a very real possibility. It is supposed to warm up slightly for tomorrow so we should not have the same difficulty and confusion.

Midweek Storm Unraveling?

So the cold did cause a few casualties this morning, namely Pittsfield and Central Berkshire, which decided to close schools for the day. Surprising but not entirely shocking.

Like a complex allegorical novel, the midweek storm is offering meteorologists many different levels of interpretation. The computer models are all over the place. Unfortunately, Paul Caiano at Channel 13 reported this morning that the more reliable of the computer models is taking the storm out to sea. Way to be a party pooper, Paul. But we at GSD know better than most not to slay the messenger.

We'll update later today as the models move closer toward some kind of consensus. It's now looking like Thursday as our snow day if it is going to happen at all.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cold Day for Monday 1.23?

Gotta love the tenacity of the GSD Followers. Earlier today, an anonymous commenter queried about the chance of a cold day tomorrow because of the Nova Zemblan freeze we're experiencing--the latest forecast is for a low of -17 degrees Fahrenheit tonight. At first the GSD staff just chuckled, but the more we thought it about, the more we realized there actually is a chance of a two-hour delay from the brutal cold.

 Nova Zembla--not a popular vacation destination.

Here's how it could happen: Diesel fuel does not do well in crazy low temperatures. We're not entirely sure of the tipping point, but diesel fuel can solidify in very cold weather. The modern technology of school buses is pretty amazing, but engineers are yet to figure out how to power engines on chunks of fuel. We at GSD aren't even sure if the district's buses are diesel-fueled, but if they are, there's an outside chance that the cold fuel will seize up the engines.

We're not going to put it in the Confidence Meter because the chance is very remote, but we thought we'd at least throw it out there to our loyal followers.

As for Wednesday, there are more signs the storm could be creeping southward, which is not what we want. Work your magic, GSD devotees, and will this storm to take that coveted coastal track. Until we meet again...

No Consensus on Wednesday 1.26 Storm Yet

No one likes to play the role of Danny Downer, but GSD wants you as prepared as possible for the storm looming in the distance for Wednesday. Right now there is little consensus from the computer models about the track, the timing, and the amount of precipitation. The models are now predicting anywhere from 1/2" to over 1" of liquid precip for this storm, which translates to 6" to roughly 15" of snow. The timing is for Wednesday but it's too hard to say exactly when it will start snowing because there is uncertainty about the time of the formation of the coastal low and how quickly it is going to move up the coast. And we should know by now that the track of the storm can change even as the storm is happening.

The three scenarios still being bandied about: 1) coastal track/major snow; 2) inland track/snow and sleet; 3) storm goes bye-bye out to sea/little snow. No one likes #3 but some reliable models have produced that scenario. Boo.

We will have light snow on Tuesday from an AC--look for 1" to 3" in advance of the mess on Wednesday. School and after school activities should not be impacted from this slight disturbance. GSD also does not think that any games on Tuesday night will be canceled in advance of the Wednesday potential blockbuster.

GSD will give an update later tonight, but Monday night and Tuesday by noon is really when we'll know with much more certainty how much we're going to get, if there will be sleet involved, and what the timing of the storm will be. The gut instinct of the staff at GSD is that at the moment we're in the middle phase of the three-phase forecast, which goes like this: 1) initial big storm predictions 5-7 days in advance; 2) a period of doubt and uncertainty 2-4 days before; 3) return to big storm predictions the day before. Things don't always play out this way, but that's the typical meteorologist reaction to the computer models.

Keep your fingers crossed, and, peeps, make sure you wear your hat and mittens over the next few days. Don't let pets, small children, and/or grandma and grandpa stay outside for too long.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Boo-yah!--MSE for Wednesday 1.26

Anyone out there sick of snow?

Good. We didn't think so.

Boy, does it look like we're in for it on Wednesday. TWC has an insightful article at the website detailing the two most likely scenarios, and both have the Berkshires feeling the brunt of the storm. One scenario has the storm taking a more inland track, which would put the GSD-following area into that snow/sleet/ice swath. Not so appealing. The other scenario--much preferred--takes the track just along the coast. Nor'easter. Blizzard. Snowmageddon. Call it what you will--with the frigid cold in place (Plus 3 for high on Monday!) and the significant amount of moisture, this latest La Nina incarnation could be a whopper (i.e., 18+ inches). If the stars align, we could be talking two-day snow day.

Oh, yeah.

GSD does need to remind you that it's very early yet in the process. As quickly as the most recent storm ramped up and became a legitimate Winter Storm, this Next Big Thing could be a bust by sundown Sunday.

Stay the course, be patient, and this potential monster will get here in due time. If anything juicy comes along the wire over the weekend, we'll let you know. Monday evening is when the GSD staff will be on call 24/7 to meet your needs.

Also, if you have any suggestions, feel free to drop them in a comment on any of the posts. Our Customer Service staff is always at the ready. We love GSD Follower input and are always looking for ways to enhance your snow day prediction experience. TTFN!

Feel the Love for La Nina

You should always thank your parents when they do something nice, so major props to Ma Nature and Pa Winter for dumping storm after storm upon us so far this winter. But you know who also deserves thanks? It's the baby of the family, La Nina.

La Nina is the name meteorologists have given to a period of abnormal cooling of the Equitorial Pacific Ocean waters. (The bigger, older, and more popular brother, El Nino, means there are abnormally warm Equitorial Pacific Ocean waters.) When these ocean waters are cooler, as they have been this winter, they historically have produced more precipitation in the Northwest and Southeast. You may not have noticed but this winter our snow storms have originated out of the--ta-dah!--Northwest and Southeast, often combining their efforts when they have reached the Atlantic coast.


(The 2nd bend in the jet stream is where coastal storms are formed.)

The important news for GSD followers about this La Nina winter is that the storms are supposed to keep on coming and coming and coming. If you want more detailed information, check out this report about Forecasting God Joe Bastardi's long-range forecasts. Dee-lightful and dee-licious.

(We'll post about the big blizzard potential for Wednesday later tonight.)

New Feature Debuts!

The ace Research and Development Department at GSD has unveiled a new feature to the ever-popular GSD Confidence Meter. To better pinpoint the impact of wintry weather on the school day, GSD will now be predicting the chance of two-hour delays.

"We couldn't believe the two-hour delay returned," said the GSD Chief of Quality Control. "We thought it had gone the way of the calzone as a hot lunch offering."

GSD staff members will continue to give readers predictions about the chance of a snow day, and the new delay prediction percentage will appear directly beneath the popular "%CHANCE" tool. Because of the new delay tool, GSD engineers have had to make a few other minor changes to the Meter.

"We've changed "%CHANCE" to "%SNOW DAY" and the new tool will read "%DELAY," said the Quality Control Chief. "And we're super-pumped with what R & D came up with for the color scheme. Red says, 'Stop, stay in bed, no school,' while the green says, 'Go--yeah, you gotta go to school but just not as long.' The innovation we've shown with these color schemes shows you just how far we're willing to go to enhance the followers' prediction experience, and it's why we're number one in the snow day prediction industry in this region."

The two-hour delay tool should be put to use Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

Two-Hour Delay Triumphantly Returns

Since the early 2000s, the District has not used the two-hour delay, but it's back, baby, and better than ever. Great call by the Super. See everyone at 9:30ish.

It's odd that robo-call came in before the announcement on Channel 13, which still hasn't been posted as of 6:23 am. GSD will get to the bottom of it later today.

[Update--the delay finally appeared on Ch. 13 at 6:30. Most schools in the county are closed, except for Adams-Cheshire, So. Berkshire, North Adams, and us.]

Not Looking Good...

Only Central Berkshire has called off school so far. There's not a lot of snow on the ground and, unfortunately, it isn't coming down that hard. Prepare for the very real possibility of having to go to school.

Friday 1.21 Update

GSD staff members just completed some late night observations, and, right on cue, it is indeed snowing as of midnight Thursday. The snow is very light, as if someone is taking very fine sandpaper to a giant block of ice and spreading the dust around the Berkshires. According to the NWS, the snow should pick up in intensity from 2:00 am to 7:00 am, bringing us 1/2" or 1" of snow per hour.

Given the quick movement of the storm, things should be winding down by 11:00 am or noon tomorrow, which would make a two-hour delay the most prudent decision. We're not sure if the bus company is ready for this scenario, so we'll focus our decision on the full snow day. The possibility for a full-day release is still in the mix, but GSD thinks road crews can get most of the snow cleared for the morning commute, and we've downgraded our Confidence Meter to indicate the shorter time span of the storm. The final decision will hang in the balance right up to 5:45 am tomorrow. The decision to cancel school will be a conservative one; the decision to have school will be more risky. Either way, we'll learn more about the Super's decision-making tendencies no matter what happens tomorrow morning.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Storm Warning Until Noon Friday 1.21

You're not going to believe it but the storm racing across the country is slated to intensify and Winter Storm Warnings were posted this afternoon. The Warning is in effect from midnight tonight to noon tomorrow. Because the storm is a fast mover, the determining factor for the snow day will be the rate of snow in the "decision zone" from 4:30 am to 5:30 am. If it's coming down an inch an hour, we are most likely looking at a snow day.

The general consensus at GSD is that we really ought to save these days up for the bigger storms next week and the week after, but Mother Nature does what she wants and we play by her rules.

So, once again today we're jacking up the percentage, this time to 80%. That two-hour delay is still a possibility (because of the timing of the storm), but the odds are now in your favor. If this were the first storm of the season, we'd be weighing in at 95%, but Tuesday's day off means districts will not be as eager to call off school tomorrow.

Set your alarms for 5:45 am--that's about when the decision is going to come in, and it will most definitely be down to the wire.

Friday 1.21 Forecast Improving

GSD is seeing signs from NOAA that there may be more moisture with this storm (okay--it's now officially a storm) than forecasters and computer models originally thought. Look at the radar and it's not hard to see why. That green blob over central US is coming our way. The timing of the storm is also earlier--8 or 9 pm tonight until about noon tomorrow. The two-hour delay would probably be the right call, but in lieu of that option we'll nudge the Confidence Index ten points higher.

Here's the most optimistic of the local snow forecast maps, courtesy of Channel 13:

Friday 1.21 Snow

GSD is reluctant to call the disturbance tonight a "storm" as the snowfall will be fairly light. The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory, which is the lowest level of the storm alert hierarchy (Watch being next best, Warning better, and Blizzard best). Three to six inches for our area; we'll probably come in around 5 inches in the VB  and 6 in the Boro. Sounds like enough to cancel school, but remember that this disturbance will take about 18 hours to run its course.

By the way, people in the upper Midwest and Rockies mock us Easterners openly for all of our school delays and cancellations. You know what happens when it snows out there? They plow the roads and drive slower. How novel.

GSD is still extremely confident that there will be school tomorrow--rats!--but a delay is not out of the question, as the Super recently clarified to the GSD staff that delays are possible but harder to coordinate because of bus schedules. Tomorrow might be a great day to test the waters to see how the bus company handles a delay. The only problem is that it probably will be snowing at the same relatively light rate at 7:00 am as it will be at 9:00 am, which would appear to defeat the purpose of the delay.

If the storm does start to bend north and the Advisory becomes a Watch, we'll let you know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Friday Fizzle

Here's the latest from the NWS:

MODELS CONTINUE TO BACK OFF ON FORECASTING A SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL
FOR THE REGION FOR THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY. GENERAL MODEL
CONSENSUS IS THAT THE SURFACE LOW WILL MOVE EAST OFF THE MID
ATLANTIC COAST LATE THURSDAY NIGHT...BUT NOT TAKE MUCH OF A
NORTHERLY TURN AS IT DEEPENS. THIS WILL RESULT IN MAINLY A LIGHT
SNOWFALL FOR THE FORECAST AREA

 We'll have a little snow but we're just going to have to suck it up and leg out this exhausting three-day week. It'll be tough but we can probably make it. (Sigh.)

As they say in these parts, it's going to get wicked cold for the weekend and after. Minus 7 Saturday night and plus 6 for a high on Monday. GSD double-dog dares you to stick your tongue to a flag pole.

Nuisance Snow or More for Friday 1.21

Four or five inches of the dry white powdery stuff for Friday and, sadly, the chances of an MSE are dwindling. Given the week we've had, the buses will roll on Friday morning. People are going to complain and the roads won't be that great, but the Super's just going to tell everyone to man up and get to school. Period. The end. (The timing is really good, though, but the volume will be wimpy.)



GSD is really liking the storm that's looming for Tuesday/Wednesday of next week. It's not going to be a Redbox. It's not going to be a Netflix. It's going to be a Blockbuster, baby! (At least that's what we're saying now.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wednesday 1.19 Possibility...

I suppose tomorrow does need to be addressed as the coastal storm is still hanging on, more light precip is headed our way from the West, and our temps are supposed to dip back down beneath freezing. It's certainly a possibility that school could be canceled again tomorrow. GSD is confident the towns' snow crews will git 'er done by the morning commute, but funnier things have happened.

We're locking in at 25% for tomorrow. If the district had a two-hour delay protocol, we'd be putting all of our chips in that pot but we don't so you can fuggedaboutit. You will see many districts tomorrow with a delay.

Check in at GSD in the morning before school just in case, but keep your eyes open for Friday and next Wednesday.

Storms, Storms & More Storms Through February

GSD couldn't have picked a better year to make its presence know on the web. The storm season has been shockingly active, and except for the first two storms, we've been hit hard and we will be continue to be hit hard at a storm a week clip.

Do NOT get too excited about Friday. Even if the storm brings 4-6" inches, which it probably will, there will be a lot of community and parental pressure to have school. You just can't use up three snow days in the first part of January. You know it. GSD knows it. And the Super knows it. But as Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber might say, we're telling you there's a chance.

All you weather watchers should not despair about the very brief dearth of storms. The long range forecast is for this lively weather pattern to continue. Here is all the evidence you need from Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski [love the middle syllable of the last name--ed.]:
We have had two storm tracks [this winter] thus far. One modest track brings storms in from the Pacific and cross-country over the Upper Midwest. A second track has had storms forming along the Gulf coast then tracking up the Atlantic Seaboard.

Usually you get one or the other to dominate. However, it seems we have been flipping back and forth between the two. The result has been light to moderate snow events over the Midwest and episodes of heavy snow along the Atlantic Seaboard.

Going on through early February, this pattern will continue. There is also the potential for the duo-storm track to phase along the East Coast, raising concerns for a couple more "blockbuster" storms through that period.

Get us a paper bag because the GSD Staff is officially hyperventilating. We all just need to stay calm, enjoy the day off, and then get ready to ramp it up again next Wednesday for the next MSE. But don't you dare sleep on Friday's storm just yet.

Snow Day 1.18...Finally

Good work, Followers of the Flake. Our district was the last one in the county to make the snow day official, but the Super finally made the call at 6:02 am. Enjoy your second snow day of the season and second in the past week. All of your praying to the Snow Gods has paid off.


Do be careful today--the ice could be treacherous later in the day. Check in this evening to see if the ice will prevent us from going to school tomorrow. GSD doubts this will be a two-day event, but with ice, one never knows.

Still Waiting...

All other districts in the Berkshires have phoned in...including Hancock.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Storm 1.18 Update...

The flakes will be a-flying soon, but will there be enough of them? Catskill in NY has already decided to wave the white flag for tomorrow, getting in first with a two-hour delay. Radar shows the leading southern edge of the storm to be in Philadelphia at this hour, which means the snow should be about five or six hours away. Unfortunately, there is so much cold air in place that the storm may have a hard time of working into interior New England by the magic hour of 5:00 am. On the other hand, a look at the radar shows that there may be more moisture with this storm than forecasters originally thought.



Here's what's working for you:

1. Threat of significant icing (up to a 1/3rd of an inch) in the afternoon.
2. Snow falling during the 7:00-8:00 hour.
3. Projected snow of upwards of 8".

Here's what's working against you:

1. We just had a snow day and a holiday.
2. The storm might not start by the time the Super is going to make the decision.
3. Snowfall totals will not be high enough (4" on the low side).

Bottom line: As long as ice is part of the forecast, you most likely will be sleeping in.

Winter Storm Warning Now in Effect (Storm 1.18)

So, what would you do with an extra day off as part of this holiday weekend? It looks like--once again--things are trending in favor of a snow day. If GSD followers were at the craps table, they'd be checking the dice to see if they were loaded. Papa's getting a new pair of shoes!


The latest: snow begins after 4 am, it snows all day giving us 4-7 inches, and then ice kicks in between 3 and 4 pm. The earlier start is better for a snow day; the later-ness of the ice means we could make it through the day and then all after school activities would be cancelled. Still, the early snow start will weigh more heavily on the mind of the Super.

Given this latest forecast, we're moving the chance up to 85% on the basis of the earlier start to the storm and we're backing down on our call for an early release. The snow will start by 7 am at the latest so there's no sense in releasing the hounds early. GSD is not convinced the snow will start by 4 am, but if it does...your money's in the bank!

We're going to pay in June, but don't forget that the 21st century is officially "the Age of Instant Gratification" -- acronym "AIG."

Snow Maps for 1.18 Storm...and Friday Storm?

Here are the latest snowfall predictions for the Tuesday storm:



 Accuweather and TWC were low on the last two storms, so you should be thinking around 6" for this storm depending on the time of the sleet/ice changeover. Speaking of which, here's this little tidbit gleaned from the latest storm news at Accuweather:
The most significant icing will occur across the lower Hudson Valley of New York, western Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and portions of Maine on Tuesday and Tuesday night. This will be due to the fact that cold air will be in place at the surface and milder air will rush in at higher levels in the atmosphere.
We can safely say that all afternoon and evening practices, games, and activities will be canceled or postponed on Tuesday. (Good luck getting those games rescheduled.)

Even though we really need all efforts concentrated on tomorrow's storm, we thought we'd just throw out this nugget from a report on a weather system for the end of the week:
Winter Weather Expert Meteorologist Joe Bastardi is concerned that if the two systems phase together upon reaching the Northeast, a heavy accumulation of snow would result, rather than just a few inches of snow.
Anyone up for a two-day week?

Midday Report -- Storm 1.18

As we approach the 18-hour mark before the storm arrives (6 or 7 am on Tuesday), there still is plenty of disagreement and uncertainty about the degree to which the storm will strike the Berkshires. The pattern of low pressure systems--one in the Midwest and one on the Southern coast--is nearly identical to last week's storm. Unfortunately, the amount of moisture is significantly less, and the timing of the transfer of energy from the Midwest low to the coastal low is the big question mark. If the transfer of energy happens fairly quickly, then the storm will be mostly snow to the tune of 6-8". If the two pressure systems take their time to co-mingle, then we will see about 2-4" of snow before a changeover to sleet and even freezing rain. (We should also point out that last week's storm and the December 26th storm were also initially low-balled by forecasters. Eight to twelve predicted inches quickly became 20-24" before all was said and done.)

Either scenario above is not ideal for travel in that 2:30--3:30 time slot. Again, GSD strongly endorses an announced early release tomorrow, but the chance of full snow day is still a very real possibility. This storm will go down to the wire. It is unlikely that you'll see GSD weigh in with a 100% chance prediction, but the chance for a snow day should remain at or above 75% for the time being.

 Not a scenario we want to see on Tuesday (go to the 30 sec. mark & enjoy the videographer's great commentary)

With the 75% rating for the storm, GSD strongly encourages that you prepare for any major assignments (test, papers, and projects), but you certainly could risk not completing a regular homework assignment if you're the adventurous type who lives life on the edge.

Winter Storm Watch for Tuesday

Things are heating up--literally and figuratively--and as of 4:07 am on MLK Jr. Day, the NWS has issued a WSW from 5:00 am Tuesday to 7:00 am Wednesday. This announcement certainly complicates matters when it comes to snow day prediction, but the trend, GSD friends, is upwards.


If you hadn't had just experienced the bliss of a snow day last night, then the Super would definitely call a snow day tomorrow in anticipation of a wintry mess. Since we just had one, the Superintendents of all of the county's schools and districts are going to be reluctant to call a second snow day, especially for a storm that is supposed to happen instead of already happening (like last week's was).

Let's remember, though, the addition of ice into the mix (pun fully intended) and how much of an impact that ingredient can have. Supers, in general, fear ice. No one in their right minds puts dozens of half-crazed 16-, 17-, and 18-year old drivers out on roads with ice on them. Right now the prediction is for the snow to turn to a wintry mix in the afternoon, probably around the time that you are released from the clutches of your school--not ideal for the Super, but ideal for a full snow day or possibly an early release.

So...here's the official GSD stance on this storm as of now. We see an 75% chance of a full snow day, and a 50% chance of a pre-announced early release at 11:30 for the high school and 12:00 for the elementary schools. The amount of snow fall isn't a huge factor for this storm as the bulk of it will be falling after the Super makes the decision. We should see 4-6" out of the storm and then a shift to ice and freezing rain. As for the pre-announced early release, that's probably what our district should do (but in the past never has). But, because we have a new regime in place, we can not rule out a new policy of progressive thinking from the Super's office when it comes to snow day decisions.

Look for updates throughout MLK Day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snow and Ice for Tuesday

The four-day weekend is still very much a reality. The staff of GSD is in agreement that this is not a MSE, but this morning when we gathered in the GSD Weather Bunker, we were very much divided on the snow day potential of this storm. Some of us agree with the folks at the Weather Channel, who think that there probably will be enough could air in place to give us a good shot of snow 3-5" before things get dicey and turnover to sleet and freezing rain. Others agree with the Accuweather folks and see significant icing (1/2", which doesn't sound like much but would certainly be enough to cancel school).

Still, as we declared quite clearly in the last post, the deciding factor for the Super about this snow day is the timing. Right now it looks like the storm will start around the time of the morning commute.Will the Super pull the trigger and cancel school in the face of snow and icing ? Or, will the Super role the dice and hope that road crews can keep up with the relatively light precipitation?

Look for tomorrow's post to nail down the start of the storm. Everything is riding on the timing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Look What's on the Way

Thanks, Accuweather

That right there, my friends, is a wintry mess. Warm moisture from the south is going to drift up the coast and override the very cold air in the north. The GSD-following area is right on that snow/icy mix line, which will make for a very interesting storm system. The precipation amount looks good for a potential snow day, (whether it's snow or ice), but the big question mark is the timing. Our concern is that it might start too late on Tuesday and then end too early on Wednesday to get us to glory.

By Sunday we'll have firmer evidence and be able to make a more informed prediction. But things are definitely trending upward.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tuesday-Wednesday (1/18-19) Still in Play...


First of all, congrats to little ol' Savoy, MA for accumulating 38.2" on Wednesday. That's what we're talking about.

For the next storm, GSD would like to give you more detailed information, but the computer models simply are not cooperating this far in advance.But here's what Jason Gough at Channel 13 had to say tonight (Thursday 1/13) about our storm next week:
The problem with Tuesday is where the storm tracks...some models are bringing it to our west, which means mixed precipitation and rain...others  have it along the coast which would bring us another big snowfall.
Obviously, the latter scenario is what we're praying to the snow gods for. Here's a little tidbit to keep in mind: In December, we saw a series of three storms (or predicted storms) all on Sundays and then the pattern changed. Right now, we just finished with a major Wednesday storm, and two storms are predicted for the next two Wednesdays. We're in a delightfully stormy pattern, so we are likely to get some kind of precipitation out of the next two storms, both of which will bring snow day possibilities to Tuesday and Wednesday for the next two weeks. We might not get a snow day next week--do we really need one with MLK Jr. Day?--but we are guaranteed to get wintry weather next week and the week after.

These are heady days, peeps, so kick back and just enjoy this old school winter.

New Acronym Policy Announced

GSD has decided that it is fully committed to acronyms. Why? The reasons are simple:

1) They make typing easier.

2) They're cool. If you write with acronyms, you really sound like you know what you're talking about. If you can understand the acronyms when you read them, you are hip and cool because it says about you that you are in the know, down with the program, and a member of a select club. Remember, there really are only two kinds of people--those who follow GSD and those who wish they followed GSD. And we know who you are.

Don't worry--GSD will not be breaking out IDKs, FYIs, WTFs and acronyms of that ilk--we're above such texting nonsense. Instead, we will have our own special snow language that only our loyal followers will understand. Or, if you're new to the GSD fanbase and/or need a refresher, all you have to do is look to the box that will be permanently displayed on the right.

Herewith, a sample of text from the sleek new streamlined prose of GSD:

"GSD is pleased to announce that an AC will pass through here on Saturday night. It's not the MSE that we'd like to see--(it's highly doubtful the NWS will be calling for a WSW)--but it will coat the ground and make for slick travels."

TRANSLATION:

"Greylock Snow Day is pleased to announce that an Alberta Clipper will through here on Saturday night. It's not the Major Snow Event that we'd like to see--(it's highly doubtful the National Weather Service will be calling for a Winter Storm Watch)--but it will..."

You get the idea. We promise not to go overboard. Should we start to sound like two tech-nerds at CES 2010 (that's Consumer Electronics Show), drop us a comment.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's Next?

I know, I know. As of 7:00 pm it's still snowing. But as we've said before, get those thoughts of a second snow day out of your head this very instant. If this storm had started at 11 or 12 this morning, then you would have been looking at the first two-day snow storm since 2008.

Totals for today's storm exceeded expectation. That's a good job by you, Old Man Winter. The Borough picked up at least 20 inches, and GSD weather watchers in the Village Beautiful measured 18 inches of snow. We may even pick up another inch or two tonight, which could bring us even with the snow totals from the Dec. 26 Snow-a-thon. Two snowstorms over 18 inches in one season? Ah, just like the good old days when men were real men and women were real women.

So, dear friends of GSD, what does the meteorologists' crystal ball offer us for next week? Perhaps a dusting or an inch this weekend (but that doesn't really much matter to us, does it?). Your task, then, all you loyal followers of the flake, is to keep your eyes on Tuesday/Wednesday. For the first time this season, preliminary reports are throwing around the words "ice" and "wintry mix." Hmmm, now that would put our prediction skills to the test. Nothing to get too excited about yet, but GSD will be watching all weekend to see how the storm tracks.

Bob Kovachik Recognizes GSD Followers

GSD has hit the big time! Check out this YouTube video, courtesy of Anonymous, from one of Bob Kovachik's many weather reports last night. We've gone viral, baby. Thanks, Anonymous.

It's Official...

SNOW DAY! Officially called in at 5:32 am. Enjoy the rest but get out and enjoy this wonderful winter weather. Be safe.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hoosick Falls...On the Board

GSD loves Hoosick Falls's assertiveness for tomorrow's snow day--calling off school twelve hours in advance. Check out the growing list of cancellations. Kudos to Hoosick Falls for being the first in the region to cancel school. Way to go, Panthers!

Everything's still on track for our storm. The northern part of our district should see a foot or more; the southern tier will see a few inches more than that. Snow rates of 2-4" per hour at daybreak ought to seal the deal.

Enjoy the day.

O Sweet Relief! -- The Midweek Snow Day

Break out the tubes, boys and girls, because you will be enjoying a midweek holiday. Throw in the three-day weekend coming up, and you are sitting on Easy Street. Assuming your teachers are followers of GSD, they DID have ample time to tack on some extra work for Thursday--so that might be working against you--but it's your loss and their gain if they didn't.



Here's the skinny: 8-14 inches with the snow starting around midnight. It should end fairly quickly sometime in the early to mid-afternoon on Wednesday. (Don't even go there...we will not be having a two-day snow day.) Bobby K over at Channel 13 has us at 10+, Accuweather has bumped us to 6-12", and the NWS Winter Storm Warning that came in at 3:47 am at 6-12" has since been bumped to 8-16". Even a blind man just off the boat from Papua New Guinea could make this call.

You might check in before you hit the sack just in case GSD has had to hit the panic button. But, really, you shouldn't sweat this one at all. Enjoy!

Life is Good...

Three words...Winter Storm Warning.

9+ inches; perfect timing. Make sure you get the work you'll need on Thursday.

Monday, January 10, 2011

This Indecision's Bugging Me

Continuing the boyfriend/girlfriend metaphor of the previous posting...well, The Clash are playing in the background, she's actively flirting with the guy/girl across the eastern part of the room, and we at GSD do not like it one single bit. (For goodness sakes let's hope they don't start dancing MG style. Cover your eyes, children.)

Here's what we like about Wednesday's storm:

1) The NWS Storm Watch starts at midnight Tues/Wed--perfect timing.
2) Channel 13 has Northern Berkshire down for 6-10 inches.
3) Storm models for our area tend to come on strong initially, indicate a weakening, and then revert back to a strong forecast ("strong" as in lots of snow). We're in the weakening stage.
4) Fairly easy call for the Super if it's snowing at 5:00 am.
5) It's colder than Grinch's pre-epiphany heart.
6) It will snow--guaranteed.
7) Forecasters misidentified the main snow belt from last storm's Norlun trough, missing it by 150 miles. (This could also be a "don't like.")

Here's what we don't like:

1) The two combining lows are supposed to come together too far off the coast to get us over 6".
2) Accuweather has North Berkshire down for 3-6". Gulp.
3) The southern low does not have that much moisture with it.
4) A look at the current radar shows the split (see paragraph 2) is very much in play.
5) Numbers 5-7 above are rationalizations to make the "likes" list look longer.

That's all for tonight. More updates throughout the day tomorrow. Again, GSD is still leaning toward a snow day but without the unbridled gusto we had on Sunday.

Wednesday Storm In Doubt?

Indicators from several different sources show that Wednesday's storm is like that girlfriend or boyfriend that's just a bit out of your league--s/he beginning to mess with your head. As the map below (from Accuweather) indicates, our friends in the other part of the state may be the beneficiaries of this coastal monster. There is enough moisture to keep hope alive, but this storm is perhaps not the uncontested lay-up that GSD originally thought. Chances are still very good, but GSD would like snow lovers to pray to the snow gods very hard AND temper their enthusiasm.



More updates to follow tonight and tomorrow morning, but GSD hopes to make a final call on the storm by noon on Tuesday.

Winter Storm Watch in Effect as of 10:23 AM on Monday, Jan. 10

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Watch this morning. This is a very encouraging sign for our snow day on Wednesday. A watch means we have the potential of getting 7+ inches of snow. GSD will be very eager to see if the Watch becomes a Warning within the next twenty-four hours, which means that the track and reformation along the coast is almost certain to impact our area with a 8-12" storm. If the NWS goes to a Warning, you can pretty much guarantee you'll be sleeping in on Wednesday: the timing of this storm is perfect.

GSD's only concern (which is why we are holding at an 80% chance for Wednesday) is that the southern portion of the storm will move up too quickly and not combine with the westerly low pressure system. We have had these split storms in the past, and, for whatever reason, the Connecticut River valley somehow escapes the impact snow that had been predicted. We need to keep a sharp eye on this. Still, the threat of a foot of snow with the perfect timing and a superintendent ready to dip her toes in the snow day waters all point toward a day off on Wednesday. Cheerio!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A GSD Exclusive: An Interview with the Superintendent

As the first snow day of the year approaches (see below for the latest news), our Superintendent graciously took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk to GSD about her decision-making process on the big day. In order to accurately predict a snow day, the psychology of the Superintendent may be the key component (and the most difficult to decipher) in the snow day prediction biz.

You think she peaks out the window, makes a phone call, and then heads back to sleep? Think again, O Followers of the Flake! Her insights show the not-so-glamorous underbelly of the snow day decision, revealing the role of other superintendents in her decision, the importance of the highway department in each town, and the go-to media outlet for the very first announcement. We even snagged a special sneak peak at "the list" of all the tv and radio stations the Super calls, including passwords and secret codes. Absolutely riveting!

[Interview conducted December 21st] 

GSD: Did they cover snow day decisions in educational leadership school?

SUPER: No. But I would put snow days under "adaptive leadership."

GSD: Do you find it harder to make decisions for a whole district rather than one or two schools?

SUPER: It's more anxious. Last year I had Bill [Travis] and Bill [Ballen] to rely on, so it's different this year. It's definitely more nerve-wracking.

GSD: Describe your typical morning when you know you have to make a decision about canceling school.

SUPER: Well, I used to get up around 5:30 but this year I need to get up earlier. Probably 4:30 or 5:00. First I check Weather.com and then I watch Channel 13 to make sure their reports are in sync. Once I do that, I look out my slider and see with my own eyes. Then I check the street out front to see what the roads look like.

GSD: Nothing like good old fashioned observation!

SUPER: [Laughs] Right! Anyway, my first phone calls are to the other superintendents to listen to them and how much snow they're dealing with. We talk and sometimes we have agreement but sometimes we don't. And then--I have to be honest here--I really rely on the Highway Department. Scott Park in Williamstown and Bill Decelles in Lanesborough. I can always tell by the tone of their voice how bad it is. If it's a tricky decision, I'll talk to the bus company and hear what they have to say. Once I make the decision, I start calling all the media. Take a look at this. [Moves painting of Mount Greylock aside to uncover a safe; spins the combination, opens the safe, and pulls out a list of at least 40 names and numbers]. They all have different passwords and code numbers so I have to dial them in. I call Channel 13 first and then Channel 10. After that, I call the custodians and all the principals, and then the announcement goes up onto the schools' websites.

GSD: What's the absolute latest that you will call off school?

SUPER: I'd say 6:00.

GSD: Do you think a missed call on one storm will affect your decision on the next storm?

SUPER: No, not really. The community has been very supportive because I tell them that it's not an exact science. That's important. But for me the decisions in the earlier part of the winter are harder. It's harder to call school off in October and November than in January. January and February storms are easier--there's less pressure. And at the end of the winter if you've had four or five it's harder then, too.

GSD: Are you saying the later it goes without a snow day, the easier it is to call one?

SUPER: January can be a long month. And March. I've had teachers tell me, "You know, March is a very long month," and I know what they're suggesting. It's not something I think directly about but it's in the back of my mind.

GSD: Thanks for the insight. We at GSD really appreciate the inside glimpse to what's involved on a potential snow day.

Wednesday (1/12) Snow Day Likely

All systems are go for the first big storm of 2011. Accuweather has chimed in with this VERY promising article title: "Storm May Unfold into All-Out Blizzard in New England." It looks the low from the Midwest will merge with the low from the Gulf and give us a bona fide nor'easter. Start making your snow day plans--GSD is extremely optimistic about this one.

Thanks, Accuweather.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hold On To Your Hats...

So, our Norlun trough seems to be a bit of a bust, but don't jump to conclusions. This system will suck in moisture for the Atlantic and should give us a good coating of 4-6 inches by Saturday--just enough to make things look pretty again and, hopefully, allow certain flat terrain skiers to ply their trade on Sunday at Cranwell.

But, the really big news is that we have not one but two storms in the pipeline. Shama-lama-ding-dong!There's a nice wall of moisture lurking west of Mexico that is just itching to leap into the Gulf, slurp up some moisture, and then head northeast up the Atlantic coast. You got it, kids--we're talking nor'easter on Wednesday. And, a very similar scenario is possible for the beginning of week after. The only downer with the second storm is that it could fall on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which, as you know, we already have off. Alas, we should know that beggars can't be choosers.


Loving that low in the Gulf, just loving it.

Get excited about Wednesday's storm--the potential for a snow day is as high as the snow drifts from the December 26th nor'easter. Bring it on, Freeze Miser!

Friday (1/7) Storm Update...

It appears that the storm, the product of an unusual Norlun trough (or Norlun Instability Trough--NIT), will generate a moderate snowmaker to our south during the day on Friday. Had this storm arrived twelve hours earlier, we would have been in business and most likely would have had a snow day. As a result of the southerly track, GSD is downgrading the chance of a snow day on Friday to 20%. We will throw out a 20% chance only because we have no idea how the superintendent will react to threat of heavy snow later in the day. Even though we love snow days RIGHT NOW, we think that our superintendent will be rational and decide that we can make it through the day. The heavier snow is predicted for much later on Friday, so it looks like school will be open. Again, do NOT be surprised if all afternoon activities are canceled for Friday.


Long term forecasters do think a storm on Wednesday and then another one on Sunday/Monday (Jan. 16-17) are real possibilities. We appear to be in a great weather pattern for storms right now, so check in often at GSD for the latest and greatest weather news for all you snow day lovers.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Surprise, Surprise -- Winter Storm Watch for Friday 1/7

Hmmm....very interesting. It looks like things are perking up for tomorrow's storm. A narrow band (50-100 miles) of intense snow had been predicted in a corrider extending northwest from NYC and on into the Catskills. This narrow band was supposed to have dropped 6-12 inches of snow in a very short period (8-14 hours). Now, though, some forecasters are shifting this narrow band northward about 100 miles. This means the Berkshires are very much in play for this intense Alberta clipper. This is definitely a weird one and unpredictable even at this late stage.

So, the official GSD word on the storm is....plan on coming to school. Boo, hiss. The timing just seems too late, and the real heavy dumpage will come in the afternoon. When it comes down in the afternoon and early evening, it's going to come down hard. GSD will be so bold as to say that all afternoon activities will be cancelled, so all you athletes can officially start your weekend at 2:21. An early release is highly unlikely.

We'll monitor this storm throughout the afternoon and late into the evening, but there's definitely a 50/50 chance of a snowday at this point.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Clipper (1/7) Going Down...but Big Storm Looming

The timing of the storm has moved into the EXCELLENT category, but this clipper unfortunately will not produce enough snow fast enough to delay or cancel school. The roads will be snow-covered on Friday morning, but the snowplowing crews will have plenty of time to keep route 7 safe.

It will probably snow all day and then even pick up in the afternoon and evening on Friday, putting any games that night in jeopardy.

Fortunately, there is good news about a storm for Wednesday into Thursday of next week. It looks like it could track out of the Mississippi Valley, catch the coast and move towards the northeast. Right now it doesn't look like it will pack the punch that the Dec. 26th storm did, but it could be sizable snow-maker, certainly enough to cancel school.

The GSD vibe on this one is very good--we love it when Accuweather says the following  about a storm: "Keep checking on this one as it is likely to impact travel and schools in a big way."


Monday, January 3, 2011

Alberta Clipper 1/7

Generally speaking, Alberta clippers are weaker snow producers and rarely produce snow days. In fact, only three Alberta clippers have produced cancellations or early releases in the last ten years in our school district. They tend to produce lower snow amounts (3-6" inches), they often occur during the day or early evening, and they move fast like a clipper ship.


All reports are leaning toward Friday's storm being a snow producer, especially it forms a low off the mid-Atlantic coast and then shoots north-northeastward. It won't produce a lot of snow (6" at most), but all we need is six inches to be predicted during the day if the storm begins early enough.

Unfortunately, our staff at GSD has had the time to review the early weather models and the timing is NOT working in our favor. The only hope is that the Alberta Clipper will jump on the back of that big ol' jet stream and make it to the coast lickety split. If the storm "goes coastal" in the wee hours of Friday morning, we could be in business.

As always, the next 48 hours will tell us a lot--keep checking in.