Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blockbuster Next Week?

Sorry we didn't get to a post this morning. Precipitation was so light that we didn't feel the need. We're still seeing a few snow showers today, but, again, they're mostly insignificant and will be vacating the area by Saturday.

The GSD Staff is alert to a developing situation for Wednesday or Thursday of next week. The jet stream will be moving into a perfect shape for the formation of a coastal storm that might get blocked or stuck over our region. The hype machine will kick in early for this developing situation--just you watch!

More about the "Omega Block" in a future post. (courtesy of Accuweather)
Over the weekend, diminishing snow showers throughout the weekend with temps in the high 30s and possible breaks of sun late afternoon on Saturday and, more likely, on Sunday.

Eyes wide open for the potential monster storm next week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Esme Lingers

Technically, the Northern Berkshires are still under a Winter Storm Warning. The warning is for those living in elevations above 1500 feet, and an advisory is still in effect for those whose heads are not in the clouds. This Warning/Advisory will last until 6 AM tomorrow morning.

NOAA suggests we may get up to 4" of snow tonight (below 1500 feet). Looking at the radar, that estimate is very much on the high side. The storm center is over the NY/PA border and beginning to circulate in a typical counter-clockwise manner. Most of the moisture has lifted to our north, but there are still impressive bands of precipitation well to the southeast that are making their way toward us.

We may see a few extended bursts of snow tonight. We're going to bump up the chance for a delay on the trusty True North Confidence Meter, but be aware that this guesstimate is only for towns north of Pittsfield. Mid County and South County will have a full day of school tomorrow. So will northern districts, too, in all likelihood, but we can't dismiss the possibility of a delay.

Tomorrow will still be gray with rain showers and possible snow showers intermittently throughout the day. Esme wasn't much to write home about, but now she's acting like that relative who stays to visit just one extra night too long. Feel free to move along any time now, my dear.

Check in tomorrow early to see if any schools have called for a delay.

Thursday Forecast for Esme

It looks like Berkshire Hills and Pittsfield got the short end of the stick this morning. That's unfortunate for those poor souls stuck in classrooms at 7:45 this morning. The rest of the County went with the ever-popular two-hour delay.

As for the remainder of the day, temps will rise which means rain with snow mixing in. The bulk of the moisture is just to our south and east, but it will start to nose its way back toward us as the storm lifts past New Jersey and Long Island. We will see a transition back to snow later this evening. Hilltowns will see it change back first and the valleys not until well after nightfall. Tomorrow's commute could be messy again, which will be reflected in the latest update of the True North Confidence Meter. We really don't think we'll get the double delay, but there's an outside chance.

Roads should be fine by 9 AM today, but motorists will need to be careful around 7 PM this evening.

We'll update later to give more info about tomorrow's commute.

Morning Report for Storm Esme

Main roads look passable up here in North County, but there is a lot of moisture on the way (despite the lull we'll experience from 5 AM to 7 AM). Side roads are mostly snow-covered. We haven't seen the wind kick up yet, but it's going to at some point this morning.

South Berkshire is first in with a 2-hr. delay--we'll just have to wait and see if other districts follow suit. Our best guess is a 50/50 split for delays and a full day of school for the districts of the County, with a possible full snow day outlier.

We'll keep this list updated throughout the morning:

So. Berkshire -- 2 hr. delay
Central Berkshire -- 2 hr. delay
BART -- 2 hr. delay
North Adams -- 2 hr. delay
Mount Greylock -- 2 hr. delay
McCann -- 2 hr. delay
Adams-Cheshire -- 2 hr. delay

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Storm Esme: Late Evening Report

We've been down this road before, dear Followers of the Flake. We should know better than to allow ourselves to believe in a snow day this time of year.

As we've noted in the past several posts, this storm is not behaving in a manner we find appealing. We still do have WSWs and WWAs for the entire county, but something about this storm feels a bit off, doesn't it?

Here's what we like:

1. The amount of moisture is very good. Even though the storm is losing some of its energy as it splits (the western part of the split is still dumping many inches of snow out in the Midwest), it's still potent. Even if we hit the middle of the WWA prediction, we're still looking at 4-5" (for Northern Berkshire).

2. It's slow-moving. (And take your time, Esme--we're in no rush)

3. The worst of the storm should hit slightly before or during the Wednesday commute. Dy-no-mite!

4. We also have a Wind Advisory--gusts exceeding 50 mph from 5 AM to 3 PM on Wednesday. With snow-covered roads, that wind's strong enough to push a car or even a bus off the road! Yikes!

Here's what we don't like:

1. It's supposed to start snowing in an hour or so and it's still 36 degrees at the GSD Home Office in Williamstown.

2. These elevation storms often just lead to a slushy mess for valley locales.

3. We just had vacation.

4. These later-in-the-season storms often don't pan out (see "weekend, last").

It's safe to say we're confidently unconfident about this storm. We're sticking with our very wishy-washy predictions, so we'll just have to hope that we will be wrong.

Storm Esme Early Evening Report

Sound the town siren! We've decided to name this storm Esme in an effort to coax her into delivering a significant snow event.

Here's the latest:

A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for Northern Berkshire. Unfortunately, the warning is only for those parts of North County that are above 1500 feet. Under 1500 feet and for South County, we have a Winter Weather Advisory. Higher elevations could see up to 12"; lower elevation towns will see anywhere from 2-6".

Unfortunately, we don't have a high level of confidence with this storm. The moisture toward our south is steadily pushing our way but it seems to be breaking up in places even as it moves northward. It could pull in more moisture off the ocean, but it doesn't seem to want to spin in that counter-clockwise direction like we'd want it to do. Fortunately for us, though, Esme's not the fastest gal on the block so if it does come down as snow or sleet, it will gradually accumulate over a 24-hour period.

The timing is still very good to excellent, which means tomorrow's commute should be ugly. Homely in the South; hideous in the North. No matter what happens, we really won't know definitively what the right call should be until 5 AM tomorrow. A change of half a degree in the temps would be enough to change the forecast.

The GSD Staff has agreed to raise the chance of a delay on the True North Confidence Meter to 60%, and we're going to hold our snow day chances at 35%. South County schools should take these numbers and divide by 2.

As always, we reserve the right to change our minds and will likely do so for the late evening report. Until we meet again...

Watch-and-Wait Time

Despite the WSW announced earlier today, most local meteorologists are taking a conservative and cautious approach with this storm. As they say: Fool me once...

With the big fizzle over the weekend, it's no surprise there's not a lot of hype coming from local weatherpeople. Most are calling for 1-3" or 2-4" by morning, which would be enough to generate a delay and likely not a snow day.

Thanks to Accuweather for this map.
As much as we'd like to commit to a full snow day prediction for the Berkshires tomorrow, there's just too much conflicting information right now. Temps will be lower and the easterly strong wind will work in our favor, but there is a column of drier and warmer air now wedging itself into the forecast. Based on the radar, a wall of substantial moisture is definitely zeroing in on us.

It looks like the heaviest period of precip--whether it's wet snow or sleet--will be tomorrow morning during the commute. As a result, we've upped our chances of a delay. Those in the northern part of the County have a much better chance of a delay than those habitants of the South.

A lot can and will happen before we know for sure what's to transpire. Still, there's a good chance the length of the school day will be affected in some manner tomorrow for North County and higher elevations. We'll have a more specific prediction for the region later this evening.

[We're holding off on naming this storm just yet. We had a tie in the voting, but a few on the staff are fans of Salinger, so we will go with Esme if and when we need to honor this storm with a name.]

Winter Storm Watch Starts Tonight

Much to our delight, the NWS boldly has called for a Winter Storm Watch for our area for this evening through late Wednesday night. Slightly colder temps and a very strong wind are now in the forecast, which accelerated the call for the WSW.

We'll have much more later today about this storm, but the potential exists for 6-12 inches of snow, plus some icing. The timing of this storm could not be better so we've increased the chances for a snow day significantly.

Even though we just had vacation, you take 'em when you can get 'em. This isn't a done-deal by any stretch of the imagination, but we like what we're seeing. We'll keep you posted!

We think the darker blue in this map will expand. Thanks to Channel 10.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Wintry Mess for Wednesday

There's no other way to put it--we have a mess headed our way for Wednesday.

The number of variables for this storm does not give us a lot of confidence in its achieving its potential, but there is enough moisture out there for a moderate to heavy snowfall. The timing looks great as the storm will start late Tuesday night or shortly after midnight. Unfortunately for pure snow totals, the temps will be around freezing so sleet and freezing rain might mix in. The good news is that our friend the Euro model is predicting colder temps (and all snow for the northern Berkshires).

This Tuesday-into-Wednesday part of the storm is coming from the Ohio Valley, which doesn't usually bring us the dumpster-loads of snow we would like to see. Yet, there is the potential for a secondary coastal storm to develop during the day on Wednesday, which would prolong the storm and bring us more snow later in the day on Wednesday.

If the storm doesn't fizzle, we'll see better chances of delays in North County than in South County. We're less confident about a snow day because the snow/sleet would likely stop mid-morning before the snow returns in the afternoon (if the coastal low develops).

We would be a lot happier at the GSD Office if these two storms joined forces, a la Diamond/Nemo, but that scenario won't happen this time around.

A delay is a very real possibility for Wednesday. We'll see at least a Winter Weather Advisory at some point tomorrow, and if the forecast improves slightly, we'll be blessed with a Winter Storm Watch for our area (and raise our snowday confidence).

These late-seasoners are complicated, so you'll have to check back throughout the day tomorrow to get the latest info. This will be one of those storms that won't really reveal itself and its potential until tomorrow evening.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Storm Brewing for Tuesday/Wednesday

We hope you're enjoying your Oscar Night festivities. There is some weather happening out there right now but it will not amount to much. If you hear a plow go by, don't get too excited. It's just precautionary and the snow is winding down already. No delay tomorrow.

We're starting to get into that time of year when storms will fizzle and/or become rain storms, as we experienced this weekend. It's just the nature of the late winter weather pattern.

We have our gaze on a possible big storm for Wednesday. The "p-type" as the meteorologists like to call it is very much up in the air--we could see snow, sleet, all rain or some combination of the three over a 36-hour period. At this very juncture our guess is that the best chance for snow will be in the north. The commute on Wednesday could be messy, but there are also signs that the main stretch of precipitation will not hit us until later in the day on Wednesday.

Hopefully the re-entry tomorrow goes well, and we'll definitely have many more updates about the mess headed our way midweek.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Winter Weather Advisory Starts at 6 PM

As expected, the WWA was announced earlier by the NWS and it is in effect from 6 PM Saturday to midnight Sunday. As we detailed earlier, the snow totals are not going to be that high from this storm: 3-5" for North County and 1-3" South.

The real reason for the WWA is the threat of freezing rain. We should see rain early, then snow, then a period of freezing rain especially south of Pittsfield. The Saturday night portion of the storm should only bring 1 or 2 inches of slushy snow.

Part two of the storm takes place on Sunday and will give our area an additional couple of inches throughout the day. It will be messy for about 24 hours starting Saturday night. Drivers should take it slow on the roads, but the GSD Staff does not feel it will be necessary to cancel any activities, meetings, games, etc. on Sunday.

As for next week...

Our Tuesday storm is shaping into a Tuesday-into-Wednesday weather event. The temps are a concern, and rain may creep into the discussion. If there's ice--which at this point is a reasonable expectation--then a delay is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Saturday/Sunday Storm

Let's cut to the chase. Here's the latest:

*Still all snow for Northern Berkshire County; a mixed bag of wet snow, sleet, and rain for South County.

*The storm appears to be moving more to the east. This means lower snow totals. We think 3-6 inches is a best-bet scenario for the Berkshires. 6" for the North and closer to 3" South.

*The timing is now later on Saturday, closer to nightfall. The heaviest period of snow will likely be from 6 PM Saturday to 4 AM on Sunday, but we still should see measurable bands of snow on Sunday through midday and the afternoon.

*We don't see a radical shift in this forecast for the better. If anything, we'll see a big fizzle and only a few inches of slushy snow when it's all said and done.

Significant Snow Coming for This Weekend

Sorry for the lack of urgency about the upcoming snowstorm, but A) it's vacation and B) another big snow will unfortunately fall on the weekend.

Courtesy of Accuweather.
What's shaping up is a not insignificant snowfall for Saturday night and Sunday for the Berkshires. We're very much on the western edge of this storm, and you will see higher snow totals to our east. A Winter Storm Watch is already up for all of Massachusetts--except the Berkshires. Depending on the track and development of the storm, we could see a WSW for our area by Saturday at noon, but more likely we'll be given the Winter Weather Advisory at some point soon.

The GSD Staff thinks the snow will start Saturday afternoon (let's say around 3:00 for a starting point) and continue to Sunday morning. Northern Berk County should see all snow; there will be mixed precip from Pittsfield south but eventually we'll have all snow for the entire county. We'll see a good burst of snow Saturday around midnight with 2-4" in South County and 3-5" in the northern towns. On Sunday there could be measurable wraparound snows as the storm moves from Long Island up to the Gulf of Maine. Final totals for North County when it all ends on Sunday could be 6-8 inches. South County might get to 5" total.

Because the temps are fairly warm, this snow will be wet and heavy and a bear to shovel. Ugh.

On a more positive note, we might have a school-shortening system on its way for Tuesday and/or Wednesday. The models are all over the place (one has it affecting the Tuesday AM commute; another has it impacting the Wednesday AM drive), so we're keeping a sharp eye on it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

End of Vacation Forecast

Despite our earlier enthusiasm for mucho snow during the Feb break, it looks like the storms are petering out or taking a different track. Here's what we can tell you:

Tomorrow (Tuesday), we'll have a period of mixed precip around the time of the evening commute, but it should change over to all snow shortly thereafter. The time frame for this very minor storm is from about 5 pm to midnight. We might see a dusting or an inch but that's about it. We don't see any reason evening games or activities will be postponed for tomorrow evening.

Our Friday storm is fizzling before it even gets started. Right now our waning attention is on a very small chance at precip for late Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Most importantly, we see no chance of any weather affecting the first few days of school upon our return to those edifices of higher learning (or mid or low-level learning, depending on your circumstances!).

We still believe the back end of February and the first part of March will be stormy so we have that to look forward to.

Enjoy the rest of your break!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Vacation!

We hope vacation is off to a rip-roaring start for everyone. Here's the snow rundown for the upcoming week:

Saturday -- A coastal storm will develop but its range will just include Western New England. Look for a coating of snow, with a chance at 1" in South County and in locales east of the Berkshires.

Tuesday Afternoon and Night -- Messy weather. Not a big storm, but wet snow, sleet, some rain, and then all snow in the evening are in the offing. Possibly a moderate snowmaker. We'll have more for you on Sunday and Monday to tell you if games/practices/events will be put off for the night.

Friday/Saturday -- Models are predicting another possible coastal storm. Much too early to declare it a nameable storm, but we're definitely intrigued by the long-term forecast. Very nice!

Enjoy your days off!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vacation Snow

In the map we showed you yesterday (that we borrowed from Accuweather), there were two tracks for the weekend storm. The northern track would have brought a significant snowfall to our area. The southern track would have brought very little. As our luck would have it this winter--which has been fairly disappointing, by the by--the southern track is the winner and still champion.

The storm will graze us, so we are looking at possible snow for Saturday now of two inches or less. Just enough to muck up the roads and that's about it. We'll have more on the timing of the snow as we get closer to Saturday.

Tuesday's storm is more complicated and potentially more impressive. At this point we will see snow on Tuesday afternoon, with some mixing of sleet and rain, and then a changeover back to all snow in the evening. Lots of disagreement with the models, but we're giving the edge to our Euro model. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Happy Valentine's Day! Love is in the air! One more day until vacation! Life is good! We'll be in touch soon...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Turbulent Times Ahead

The weather pattern is definitely active as we have four opportunities for precipitation in the next week.

The first is tonight's coastal storm that will slide by us to our south. Again, an outside chance that Southern Berkshire gets a dusting or coating of snow is still possible.

Rain showers Friday and/or Friday night as the temps move up into the 40s.

On Sunday, the computer models are all over the place. The reliable Euro model has the storm going out to sea to our south, but several of the other models show the potential for moderate to heavy snow. If these models are correct, we could see 6-12". Our confidence is not high for this storm to develop, though.

The Euro model suggests the southern route; the Canadian model has us striking white gold.
We like our chances better for a storm on Tuesday, February 19th. It's possible we could see a northern and southern storm merger, similar to Diamond/Nemo. In no way will we replicate that storm in terms of the amount of moisture, but our readership should be on high alert for a potential vacation plans-altering snow event on Tuesday.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pre-Vacation Forecast

We narrowly avoided a delay this morning. Had the precipitation started 90 minutes earlier, most schools in the Berkshires would have had a delay. Not a big deal for the high schoolers, but the commute for the elementary school lads and lasses must have been adventurous.

This week...a lot of nothin'. We could see a short period of wet snow tonight (Monday). Most likely the system's going to mostly scrape by us to the northeast.

Snow showers tomorrow and Wednesday. A coastal storm is going to develop on Wednesday, and we're mostly sure it will pass well to our south. There's a chance South County could pick up a dusting.

No snow days until after vacation. Do be aware there is a possible big storm for Saturday into Sunday. One model has our area getting another major storm, but the more reliable models (i.e. our friend the Euro) have the storm affecting the mid-Atlantic coast. If you are travelling by plane after Saturday and heading out from JFK or Newark or even Hartford, you'll be on pins and needles. We'll give you what info we can as we get closer to the weekend.

Encouraging. (courtesy of Accuweather)
February vacation is nearly upon us. We don't see any real problems with delays, releases, or cancellation of after school and evening activities this week. Temps will cool slightly after today's warmth, which will keep the snow around for a while. Enjoy it.

Mixed Precip for Monday

The window of opportunity will be very short-lived for this weather maker. North County is not going to see much of anything in terms of messy weather. There's a good band of snow in South County and that could lead to some delays.

There isn't a lot of organization to the moisture, so it will be very spotty even after it changes to rain.

Look for possible delays south and nothing much central or north.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winter Weather Advisory for Monday -- More Info

We've looked more closely at the impending weather situation, and we can tell you more information:

1. The precipitation should hit around 4 or 5 AM. Obviously, the timing is perfect.

2. There's a big piece of moisture curling toward the Great Lakes and a big piece over Alabama and Georgia. Perhaps surprisingly, this moisture is all connected in a giant comma that's making its way east/northeast (it's actually a giant warm front). Unfortunately, the thinnest part of this comma/warm front is over Pennsylvania and the part that will eventually pass over us. Based on the radar, we're not going to see a long period of moisture.

3. Yet...there are some signs that moisture is being pulled in from the south and filling in ahead of and around this warm front. This could extend how long it snows/sleets/freezes in the Berkshires.

Based on this info, we're going to downgrade our chances of a delay slightly. We still think the predicted messiness tomorrow morning needs attention from road crews and Superintendents. By all means do your work tonight, but a few of you in the County may get a bonus shorter day. Not a terrible way to start the week!

[A quick shout out to Hamden, CT--one of our staffer's hometowns--for racking up 40" from Blizzard Nemo. Congratulations, you are the big winner!]

Winter Weather Advisory for Monday AM

The GSD Staff is a little tuckered out after all the Diamond/Nemo excitement, but there's still work to do!

We have a Winter Weather Advisory for the Northern Berkshires that will start at 4 am and go until 6 pm on Monday. The fact that we're at the southern boundary of the advisory area is keeping our confidence down, but the reality is the timing is perfect and the NWS folks are talking snow (1-2") and sleet and freezing rain.

So, we're going with a fairly robust 50% chance of a delay tomorrow. There's a chance this quick-hitting storm could elude the detection of some Superintendents, which wouldn't be a good for anyone involved.

Get the word out and keep an ear out for the robocall tomorrow morning. If there's a few hour period of ice right around the AM commute, a delay would be a prudent call.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Travel Ban?

The snow has stopped falling, and at the GSD Office we picked up 11" of snow. A goodly amount but a bust as far as the computer models and meteorologists' predictions went (see yesterday's maps).

It's very cold out there and the winds will be whipping up as Diamond slides out to sea. Wind chills will be well below zero, especially tonight.

Technically, there is still a travel ban in place for the Berkshires and all of Massachusetts, and we are under a State of Emergency, too. While the ban may be necessary for South County and definitely anywhere east of the Berkshires, we sure have seen worse in Northern County this winter. It doesn't  look like everyone is heeding the ban, and we're guessing police officers out here are turning a blind eye to motorists on the roadways. Here's a link to the official statement from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

You may want to call your local coffee or doughnut shop before you head out to see if it is open. Coffee is indeed an essential service anyway, so hopefully the ban does not extend to those establishments.

Possible messy commute on Monday--we'll have more about the timing and probability of a delay. Drop a comment to let us know your snow totals, especially those readers not in Northern Berkshire County.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Storm Diamond/Nemo Friday Night Report

Finally the snow kicked in around 5:00 pm in North County and we're seeing steady snowfall of at least 1/2" per hour right now (7 pm). There's a massive wall of very strong precipitation over southern Connecticut right now that is headed toward us. That precipitation will lose some of its power as it reaches us, but once it does in a few hours, the snowfall rate will ramp up to 2-3" an hour.

Most indications are that this storm is--predictably--not quite as potent as we thought, and it will end earlier on Saturday. Expect to be able to shovel out by about 8 am tomorrow morning in the Berkshires. If we get about 12" of snow, which is our new estimate, most people should be able to carry on with their normal plans and activities by about noon tomorrow.

A fun game to play is: Would tomorrow be a snow day (if it were midweek)? Now that's a tough call. Given the downgrading of the precip and the earlier end to the storm, the less conservative districts would probably have a delay and the more conservative would have called for a snow day. Another mixed bag for the Berkshires, which seems to be the trend this winter.

We do have half an eye on a little disturbance Sunday night into Monday. We're alert to a possible delay scenario with ice part of the equation. Don't worry--we're on it.

Full report on Diamond/Nemo some time tomorrow.

Which Map Do You Prefer?


Weather Channel

Albany Channel 10

Albany Channel 13

Albany Channel 6
They all look pretty good to us. (See previous post for discussion of the storm.)

Phasing Begins for Diamond/Nemo

Very light snow is starting to fall in the Berkshires. We've had almost a mist of snow off and on in the Northern Berkshires this morning, with a few bursts of larger-flaked snow showers. The energy of the two storms is ever so slowly starting to phase, so we should see light blue on the radar start to pop up and spread over our region in the next few hours.

The first big surge of heavy snow is still several hours away. We guess by 4:00 (earlier in SoCo) that you won't want to be on the roads.

We're very much looking forward to seeing the woods fill up with snow, as a poet once said. Hopefully the wind will not be severe and cause power outages.

We're still confident that we'll see close to 18" throughout the Berkshires by the end of it all tomorrow. We'll have details on the expected timing of the end of the storm later this afternoon or tonight.

Friday Morning Update

We've finally made it to Friday. No real news to report other than Central Berkshire is in with a cancellation--not surprised at there--and North Adams has not reported in is in with the early release. And we're taking BaRT off the list as its early release is not storm-related.

It's likely we will see no snow until everyone is safe and sound at home. Once it does start snowing this afternoon, it will come down heavy. Our best prediction for the snow to start is right around 12:00 for South County and 1:00 for the North. We may see a few minor snow showers before then but no steady snow.

There's a nice wall of moisture right around Long Island moving due north at a fairly slow pace. That will be the first of the moisture to impact our area. And then we're in for a long night.

Stay safe and enjoy the snow.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Storm Nemo/Diamond: Thursday Night Update

From what we can tell, many schools have made the decision to release students early. We know that Greylock, Lee, Pittsfield, Berkshire Hills/Monument (thanks for the FB note!), Southern Berkshire, BaRT, BCC, and MCLA have opted for the early release. The only straight-up cancellation we know of is the McCann/Northern Berkshire Vocational School District.

The timing of GSD's announcement of 100% confidence in the the early release decision and Superintendents' decisions to let school out at 11 am or noon is purely coincidental. Or so we have been led to believe.

The wisdom behind the early release call the night before is that it gives Supers the opportunity to call an audible tomorrow morning and cancel school if the storm starts to heat up a little earlier than expected. What we won't see is a school district changing from an early release to a full day of school. You might have a few angry taxpayers if that situation were to happen.

So, what is the likelihood that your school district will be convinced that the early release should become a delay? This is the $60,000 question and fortunately the crack staff at GSD has an answer.

Light snow will o'erspread our area after midnight. A quick check of the radar right now shows us that phasing is slowly starting to take place and a few snow showers are on our western doorstep. The bulk of the light snow from the northern low will pass to the north, and the big shot of moisture from the southern low is still down there in the Carolinas. Given the relative sparsity of precipitation right now, we think most of those early releases will NOT be adjusted in the preferred direction. We hope we're wrong, but the snow will be fairly innocuous tomorrow morning during the commute.

Thanks to WNYT.
Still, tomorrow will be a great day for snow lovers. Go to class, take care of business, and get back home and enjoy the snow. The storm will be at its peak in the late afternoon and evening when the snow could come down in the Berkshires at a 3" per hour rate--that's outrageous, and we can't wait.

Storm Diamond/Nemo Evening Update

The Warning is up, so that means the NWS thinks it's definitely going to snow hard (that's no surprise). We're in the 12-18 range according to the Warning statement, and the snow should start in the morning.

Congrats to students in the Northern Berkshire district--your administrators showed tremendous leadership and announced a full snow day. Lee is also in early with a bold early release call. We'll see if that holds up. The dominoes may start to fall in the next few hours.

We won't be able to update the school announcements as they happen this evening, so keep your eyes and ears open. We'll give a full school rundown later this evening after many of our readers have closed their eyes for the night.

We're taking up both the chance of a snow day to 50% and the early release to 100%. This means we still have a good chance at a snow day and if there's no snow day, we will definitely have an early release.

Storm Diamond/Nemo: Afternoon Report

We're in that anxious waiting period right now as Diamond slowly starts to take shape and move into our region. The real potent low pressure that's going to give us our heaviest snow--around 11 pm tomorrow--is still down in the north of the Gulf of Mexico. The northern low--the other Wonder Twin-- is starting to creep into our area and should spread snow showers our way tonight and in the overnight hours.

We're monitoring as many reports and scenarios as possible to try to figure out the number 1 question with this storm: when in the heck is it going to start snowing?

We've seen 6 am, 7 am, 10 am, and noon. That's a big window. On one hand, the wide spread of the time could work for those of us wishing for a snow day. It's too risky to send students to school so let's not put them in harm's way, would say some school officials. Those folks would be wise to end the misery for their poor, suffering students and call in their plans tonight. Then they'll be the more conservative types who (rightfully so) want to wait until tomorrow and see if there have been any developments overnight. Their options will be to call school off or go for the early release.

Whenever the storm starts, there's little question from meteorologists that this is a major storm and will dump close to 18" on the Berkshires. If it starts at noon (at the latest) and ends Saturday morning, that's an inch an hour clip. No one should be on the roads when it's snowing an inch an hour or more. Plan on shutting everything down tomorrow night, curling up on the couch, and renting or downloading an inspirational family film, like Swiss Family Robinson or The Love Bug (a.k.a. Herbie the Love Bug). Or play a nice family game like Parcheesi.

Keep an eye out for cancellations tonight, and that may lead to the domino effect for the Superintendents. Give those good people space tonight as they are under a lot of pressure to make the right decision. And no, we are not blatantly sucking up to them.

We'll have an update later once the Watch becomes a Warning. We are increasing our odds of having a snow day, but it's by no means a done deal.

Storm Diamond and the Wonder Twins

We had to fire our copy editor this morning--just too many errors recently, and he also made audacious claims yesterday about wagering a year of the staff's salaries that we would have no school on Friday. Let's just say the split was less than amicable.

But enough about our inner department problems! You have an audaciously large storm to worry about and you need the 411.

The news is not good, people. The snow will start in the overnight hours but it will be very light. The area to our north could get a few inches but we'll just see a dusting in the Berkshires. Snow could be falling when you wake up. Unfortunately, it will be very light and might even stop for a period of an hour or two in the mid-morning hours.

You'll hear a lot about the phasing of the two low pressure systems. Some of our older readership may recall a certain Saturday morning cartoon duo called the Wonder Twins. By themselves, Zan and Janya were ordinary, run-of-the-mill superheroes (see below--nothing fancy there). But when Zan and Jayna said, "Wonder Twins powers--activate!", they would transform, giving each of them fairly ridiculous powers. Our meteorological Wonder Twins--the north one and the south one--will activate direcly over us some time around 12:00 tomorrow, slide off to the coast, and the superhero/superstorm fury will be released. Bombogenesis (a very good thing) will take place, dumping about a foot of snow on us. If bombogenesis occurs and the storm stalls out on the coast of New England--which some meteorologists are excited about--then we're in for it, as in twenty-four inches of snow. That would easily double our season total so far.

Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna activating. Don't ask where their little blue monkey fits into the analogy.

That all sounds delightful except that our Wonder Twin activation period (a.k.a phasing) is going to take place in the afternoon and into the evening on Friday. We regret to inform you, but our best chance at a weather-truncated school day is the disappointing early release. We've changed the True North Confidence Meter to reflect that reality.

There is still a chance that we could have a snow day similar to the first Sandy day off. State and local officials may not want people out at all tomorrow and will just shut 'er down for the day in a kind of pre-emptive State of Emergency. Then again, there will be those school officials who enjoy playing chicken and will stare Diamond down. Given Diamond's brontosaurian approach, that's a game Superintendents will be willing to play and probably are going to win.

Courtesy of Channel 13.

It's not what you want to hear, but you shan't shoot the messenger. We're holding out hope that we'll have a full day off tomorrow, but you shouldn't neglect to study for that _______________ quiz or test tomorrow.

More to follow.

Storm Diamond Thursday AM Update

You like apples?

How 'bout them apples?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Storm Diamond: Wednesday Night Report

We're sorry for the delay of this evening report. The GSD Staff took a field trip to New Hampshire to check on the weather recording devices in that state. All things are a-okay there.

So...we hear there's a storm coming on Friday. We have good news and bad news. The good news is that Western New England (and the Mass/NH/Maine coastal areas) could receive up to 18 inches of snow. The bad news is the timing is slowly creeping into Friday evening.

The snow day for Friday is less of a sure thing now. An early release may be the best decision for Superintendents after all. Again, the timing is still not exact this far out ahead of the storm, but if the storm does slow down even more, we won't see widespread snow cover until the afternoon. That's not great news for those who are begging for a snow day.

We'll have full coverage of snow total predictions tomorrow, but here's a little tidbit to tide you over:

Storm Diamond Update: Midday Wednesday

We're now under 48 hours until Diamond is upon us. We don't have too much new news to report, but here's what we are offering at midday on Wednesday:

1. The European model (which accurately predicted Sandy's rage) has been reliable this winter so we're favoring that model. In that scenario, we will have snow in the 10-14 inch range, with possible higher amounts.

2. The US model sets up a less potent scenario. Still, Western Massachusetts seems to be in a perfect position because the US model still has us getting 6-12 inches. It would appear that as long as either model is correct, our area is in the serious snow fall zone.

3. We don't foresee widespread cancellations on Thursday night. Because the storm will start right around the time Superintendents need to make their call for the day, it's unlikely they'll greenlight a snow day the night before. If the storm speeds up a few hours, which isn't likely, then some districts could decide to throw in the towel early.

4. Best case scenario is a snow day announced the night before. Good scenario is a regular, ol' fashioned snow day called at 5:45 am (not 6:30, dear Superintendent!). Worst case scenario is the dreaded but not too unpleasant early release called at 5:45 am. The early release is the riskiest of the calls for Superintendents because of the threat of inch-per-hour snows. Even by 10 am roads would be hazardous.

5. The wind could be a factor. Blizzard warnings are not out of the question. To remind you of the requirements of a blizzard warning: 1) Frequent gusts or sustained winds of 35 mph or more; 2) Heavy snow for a period of 3 or more hours; 3) reduction of visibility to 1/4 mile because of the blowing snow. We're not saying this is going to happen for our area (perhaps seacoast New Hampshire and Maine), but the "bombogenesis" that could occur could might ramp up the winds to blizzard or near blizzard conditions.

6. There may be some very light snow very late tomorrow night not really related to the storm. This snow will only provide a dusting--don't get overly excited if you see snow around midnight. The big storm would be several hours away.

7. Games and activities for Friday night are in serious jeopardy. Schools should consider moving games to Thursday night or Saturday night.

8. We're likely in the "too good to be true" stage of this storm. Something will happen to put this storm in peril. This is what makes watching weather a great spectator sport.

We'll update later tonight. Keep your eyes open and do that snow dance!

Winter Storm Watch for Friday

Greetings! The next few days will be very exciting as--it's official!--Winter Storm Diamond* gets ready to obliterate our region with snow. Technically, she's not a real thing yet as the two low pressure systems that we have been talking about will not converge until some time tomorrow.

The good news is that we have a Winter Storm Watch already. Forty-eight hours in front of the event suggests certainty from NOAA that we don't always see. We do expect the Watch will be upgraded to a Warning some time tomorrow. We don't think we'll see a Blizzard Warning but one never knows.

Currently, the Watch is from 6 am Friday to 6 am Saturday. While we love the fact that the NWS is predicting 9 or more inches, we're less enthused about the timing of the storm now. Still, the storm is definitely within the "cancel school" window and, again, we've been feeling confident about this storm since its inception.

Much more to follow later today, and right now we see no reason not to be confident about a cancellation for Friday.

*We have our own storm naming process, which is different from the Weather Channel's. The Weather Channel has decided to go with Nemo.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Friday Storm Scenarios

Just wanted to share this video from the Weather Channel that breaks down the storm scenarios for Friday. It's well worth the 4 minutes and the best info we've seen on the storm so far...

Major Storm for Friday

More good news. It looks like the two energy systems for the Friday storm--the northern one and the southern one--are going to merge a form a coastal low pressure system that will move up the east coast. Things can certainly change over the next two days--the two systems might not merge after all--but if the all models continue to sync up (as they have been), then we are looking at a County-wide weather-induced three-day weekend. Boo-yah!

Perfect positioning and timing for this coastal low. Thanks, Accuweather.

We will all need to monitor the situation closely, but we are feeling very optimistic about this major storm. The timing looks about as good as it gets, and the precipitation could be in the 6 to 10" range. It is likely we'll be naming this storm Diamond in the next 36 hours.

Friday Storm

The latest news on Friday's storm is only encouraging. The non-European computer models are beginning to lean toward the European model's projections (the Euro computer had been predicting a significant storm all along).

We'll get into the details as we get closer, but right now we're looking at a Thursday night into Friday afternoon event. There should be about a half inch of moisture, which would translate to about 6" of snow. The low pressure system will be strengthening off the coast. If everything works out perfectly, we're looking at a significant snowstorm for western New England.

Start loosening up so you can do your best snow dance...we're going to need all the outside assistance we can get to make this storm a reality.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Two Opportunities for Snow

As we barrel towards February break--only two weeks away for most of our readership--we have two snow events to look forward to this week.

The first is Tuesday night. This system is an AC (see acronyms on the right) and will not generate more than an inch of snow. This AC is still part of the series of minor disturbances that we talked about last week. We don't see any reason to get too excited about this one. Afternoon and evening activities should not be affected on Tuesday.

For Friday, we have a horse of a different color. The old European model is back and has predicted a not insignificant storm for Friday morning. We would see a clipper from the north combine with a low pressure system from the south and make a big coastal storm. Some rain could mix in with this storm, but if the European model is correct, we would be looking at a storm capable of producing 6-8 inches for Friday. And the timing of this one would be perfect.

We'll let you know when we learn more about Friday's potential big snow event.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Intense Snow Showers to End

The cold front came through with a vengeance on Thursday with the peak winds occurring during the morning commute. The evening commute Thursday was dicey as the snow showers picked up in intensity and coated the ground and the roadways. Unfortunately for those wishing for a delay on Friday morning, it's not going to happen. Winds and snow showers will diminish considerably.

This weekend we could see light snow Sunday, and then we also might get a shot of the white stuff Monday night into Tuesday. Again, as we indicated in our last post, the amount of snow will be very light and should not affect the length of the school day either Monday or Tuesday. We have a better shot at a delay on Tuesday, but we're urging our readers not to hold their collective breaths.

Still, we have our eye on a late week storm (Thursday or Friday of next week). Ski resorts, cross-country skiers, sledders and tubers all need this storm to come through in a bad way. Whether or not we get a snow day out of it, we need a more substantial snow base if we're to get the most out of this winter.

Keep your fingers crossed, and you might start doing a nightly snow dance to ensure that next week's storm is legitimate.