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

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.