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

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.