Monday, November 26, 2012

Week of November 26 Outlook: Quiet Conditions

Greetings and salutations. We trust the faithful flake followers had a robust holiday and are now refocused and re-centered on the important things in life: anticipating the first big snow storm of the season.

Unfortunately, we only have bad news. Looks like the dry pattern that we wrote about last week is going to continue for a while. We do have very light snow showers in our area for tonight through Wednesday--and there may be more snow showers for the weekend--but we have no big weathermakers on the horizon.

There is an Alberta clipper setting up for Sunday into Monday. We may get some rain, snow or even mixed precip out of this one, but in no way is the GSD staff expecting delays or closures. At this point, there simply isn't enough moisture for this storm to merit too much excitement.

Speaking of excitement, we absolutely love the good work the folks over at Accuweather are doing. Their motto is clearly "Go big or go home." They go 25 days deep with their extended forecast for the Berkshires, and right now they have snow on December 18th. Everybody knows that Accuweather is prone to exaggeration, but there's something endearing about their "let's throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" mentality. If you believe Accuweather's December 18th prediction, then you might as well run out and get the Farmer's Almanac for 2012-13 and see what they have to say. 

The chance of a snow storm on the 18th is only slightly better than the world ending on the 21st.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Post Turkey Day Storm Forecast

A happy holiday week to all GSD followers!

Things have been quiet--a little too quiet--since Sandy and Athena left the building, but we kind of expected the calm after the storms. Typically, after an intense period of storminess we will see 2-3 weeks of dead time. We're about 2 weeks into that dead zone so we should see a shift in the pattern any time soon. With colder air in play--winter officially starts in a month--the precipitation we'll be talking about for the most part from now on will be snow.

We might see a fee snow showers on Friday night into Saturday of this week, but the big scuttlebutt around the weather water cooler is a possible storm for Tuesday the 27th. The computer models in North America and in Europe are very much in disagreement about this storm, so we are definitely not overly amped for a major round of precip.  Usually we see a little more computer model agreement by this point, and then a few days of disagreement, before the models then all re-align in the 36 or 48 hour run-up to a storm. That's the typical meteorological pattern, and we don't have that scenario emerging.

The storm for the 27th bears watching, but that could prove to be difficult given the tryptophan that will be coursing through most of the GSD staffers veins as of Thursday afternoon. We're certainly not ready to give it an official name just yet, but if we were to, we will be going with a male name because it will come out of the west (also another sign that it has little chance of being a blockbuster).

We'll report again on Saturday or Sunday about the possibility of a closure or delay on the 27th. Prost!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dry Spell Upon Us

After a wild opening to November, the ol' weather-making machine has ground to a halt. We'll see a little rain on Tuesday (11/13) but then a cold front moves in, and we'll be in a period of stasis for eight or nine days.

We could see some ice on the morning of Wednesday, November 21--the day before Thanksgiving--but the chance of a delay will be under 20%.

We have an eye on the long-range forecast, and we're looking at a midweek storm right after we return from the Thanksgiving break.

A few members of the GSD Staff are headed to Europe during the Thanksgiving break to get an up-close-and-personal look at these European hurricane forecasting models that were all the rage right before Sandy's arrival. We'll let you know if they're "all that" and worth our time, meteorologically speaking.

The home office still will be staffed in case any vacation or post-vacation storms pop up. Let us remind you, though, that this week there's absolutely nothing shaking down so get that homework completed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cold Air Takes Bite Out of Athena

It's 9:30 at GSD headquarters and we're yet to see even one flake from Nor'easter Athena. Looks like Athena wasn't as strong as we thought (actually, she turned out to be as weak as we thought her to be yesterday), and also that the cold air that dropped temps into the high teens earlier in the week was firmly enough in place to dry up the precipitation before it hit the ground. That's why it's not snowing yet.

You can pretty much kiss the chance of a weather-truncated day goodbye. By morning we might get an inch or so in southern Berkshire County, and the north will be lucky to see a dusting.

Athena will kick around for a few more hours, but we might even see the WWA lifted by midnight.

Thanks for following!

Storm Athena: WWA

NOAA has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the afternoon and evening. The advisory ends at 7:00 AM, reflecting the slightly speedier nature of this storm.

Totals have been bumped to 4" to 8" for the higher terrain, and everyone else in the region will see 2" to 6". Three to four inches is a more realistic expectation. Here's one reason why:

We'll see the bulk of that snow fall this afternoon and evening, which would adversely affect the evening commute. If the snow does start to pile up--and it we expect the roads will need to be cleared at some point tonight--crews will have enough time to get everything ready by 6 or 7 AM tomorrow.

We're still almost positive there will be school tomorrow, and the chance of delay is real but not likely.

Nor'easter Athena Strengthens

The latest news is that this nor'easter is showing a little life and strengthening, to the point that snow total expectations have been raised for the Berkshires to 3" to 6". The reason for the boost in numbers is that banding (waves of heavier snow with light snow periods in between) will occur.

Unfortunately, this banding will happen mainly in the afternoon hours. This means that our optimal timing for this storm has been downgraded to "just okay."

Snow lovers will dig this storm. Snow day enthusiasts aren't going to be so excited. We more bullish on the delay now because of the recent change in forecast, but we're still unenthused about the possibility of a snow day tomorrow.

Look for a Winter Weather Advisory for this afternoon and this evening and into the early hours on Thursday.

Oh, by the way, we like that winter storms get names, too. Not all storms get names--we'll go into those reasons in a separate post--but we at GSD think they should. In fact, from this point forward all possible systems--Alberta Clippers to nor'easters--will get official GSD names. We're going with men's names for clippers and women's names for coastal storms. Storms that can't be defined as one or the other will be given an appropriate name, like Pat or Alex or Dana.

We'll give an evening update in case things start to get out of hand.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

First Fizzle of 2012--Put it on the Board!

New models came in over night--this storm will not develop intensely along the coast. It's simply not coming together like a true nor'easter should.

We're still likely to see messy weather Wednesday night and into Thursday morning for the Berkshires, but we'll get a coating to an inch of snow, if that.

We'll still monitor the situation, but you should expect a full day of school on Thursday.

We're like, "The horror, the horror." You're all like, "Whatev."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Latest 11.8 Nor'easter News

We're within 48 hours of the latest, greatest weather event and the verdict is.....


This is what we know: The storm technically is a nor'easter but because the track of it will head south of Long Island and then to the east of the Cape, it's not going to pull a lot of frigid air into our region, nor will it have a ton of moisture associated with it. Models are predicting anywhere from .2 to just under .5 inches of precipitation, which translates to 2" to 6" of snow. The timing of the storm is super sweet--right in the school cancellation wheelhouse.

This is what we don't know: Just how cold it will get. Temps will hover right around the freezing point in the overnight hours Wednesday night into Thursday. A little movement here, and little movement there, and the snow could change to sleet or evening freezing rain. Models are suggesting all four types of precip--snow, sleet, freezing rain, and plain ol' rain.

Thanks, Accuweather!
NOAA is saying valleys will have 1-3" of snow and the higher terrain will pull in 3-6". These snow totals are not enough to produce a Winter Storm Watch or Warning, but we will likely see a Winter Weather Advisory starting in the afternoon on Wednesday and into the AM commute hours on Thursday.

If we're on the high side, we definitely could have a delay. Because it's so early in the season, we don't think the ground is cold enough to allow the snow to build up right away.

To be honest, we're not feeling it with this storm, given it's track and the low volume of precip, but we're certainly not dismissive of its potential.

We'll let you know more tomorrow.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nor'easter Update

Not to burst everyone's bubble, but the latest models came in with their forecasts and it looks like our first nor'easter of the season is headed out to sea. Rats.

We still may some snow out of this system, but the big dump of snow that could have happened ain't gonna happen. There's still a slight chance the storm could track closer to the coast than it is predicted to, but, really, that's not what the good folks of New Jersey and coastal Connecticut need right about now.

Maybe this one will pull a midweek surprise, but we're going to ask you to kindly downshift your enthusiasm this week for a snow day.

On a more positive note, we did see the snow machines going at Jiminy Peak during the day on Saturday, and those machines should be going full bore at night time for the foreseeable future. Get those edges sharpened!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thursday Nor'easter: Weekend Update

We've moved 36 hours closer to our upcoming mid-week nor'easter, and it looks like we're still on course for snow on Thursday.

No need to jump up and down and get out the snow suit just yet, but NOAA is still saying its models are calling for snow, especially in the higher terrain in the Albany area. We don't know much, but we do know that the Berkshires qualifies as "higher terrain."

The nor'easter will be slower moving than forecasters originally thought a few days ago, and it doesn't look like the storm is going to deepen/intensify to give us the 6" to 12" we usually expect from a nor'easter. We definitely could see a grass-coating and street-coating snow for Thursday morning.

There's a strong likelihood that this storm will fizzle and vanish out in the Atlantic somewhere; however, we at GSD are more than happy to keep hope alive for a few days.

Right now we're thinking a delay is a more realistic scenario than a snow day because of the low snow total prediction and the (relative) warm ground. We'll get well below freezing on Monday and Tuesday, but the overnight low on Wednesday is supposed to be right around 32 or 33 degrees.

Cross those fingers, if you will, but don't forget Veterans' Day is on the 12th and Thanksgiving is the week after. The mind and body isn't really aching for a respite from the rigors of school (largely due to our Hurricane days), so maybe we shouldn't get too greedy this time of year. But that's just our opinion.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Possible Midweek Nor'easter

Just when it was safe to look outside your comes Sandy's grand-pappy, Old Man Winter.

Well, maybe. We've been filtering through a mountain of forecast models, and all indications are pointing to some kind of stormy event in the middle of the week of November 5. Currently, our best guess is that this storm--which has the potential to develop into a nor'easter--would hit us Wednesday, Wednesday night, and into Thursday.

Most indications are that this will be a rain event, but the perfect track could yield a measurable snowfall and a bona fide chance at a weather delay or cancellation for Thursday.

Again, all of this may be premature, but we wouldn't feel right if we didn't let you know.

Much more to follow.

(FYI--Right now the weather looks fine for our area for Tuesday, so no one should have any excuses about getting to the polls. If you're not old enough to vote, make sure you encourage someone who is.)