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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

First Week of April Forecast

Does anyone remember last year at this time? Everyone was abuzz with the potential of a major April Fool's Day storm. It turns out Old Man Winter was the just a big ol' prankster as the storm fizzled and we barely got a coating of slush.

This year, we won't even have the opportunity to talk about snow, although in the middle of the week we will see a cold blast of air that will certainly feel like winter.

Here are the weather highlights for the week:

*Rain this afternoon (Easter Sunday) will curtail any outdoor plans.
*Once the rain comes through, well see temperatures drop off to the 40s.
*On Tuesday, we'll see high 30s for the day and then it gets even colder for Wednesday. Low 30s with a chance of flurries for both days.
*Sunshine returns on Thursday as do the warmer temps. We'll see it warm back up to the 50s. On Saturday, the cold air returns but not as severely as the midweek Arctic blast. It will be cloudy and in the 40s on Saturday.

Most high school and youth teams should get in all their practices and scrimmages this week. Tennis courts could be wet on Tuesday and Wednesday because of snow flurries, but all field sports should be good to go. Wear your mittens on Wednesday! Any games scheduled for the end of the week will likely not be postponed because of the weather.

Have a great week, and don't forget to enter the GSD Writing Contest!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Two Chances for Snow

Greetings. A little snow may visit the area tomorrow evening. The precipitation will be light, but the rain showers we may see tomorrow afternoon could turn into a more steady snow tomorrow evening. With the warm daytime temps, the snow will melt when it hits the street and might just coat the grass. No need to worry about any evening cancellations with this shot of wet weather. Accumulation--if any--will be very light.

After temps in the low 50s for Easter Sunday, for Monday we're looking at a similar situation to tomorrow, except with this storm the amount of precipitation will be higher. As the temps cool at the end of the day Monday, we could see an inch or so of slush.

No need to get excited about either weather disturbance. We just feel obligated to alert our readers when the white stuff will fall regardless of amount.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Monday Fizzle

Unfortunately, we're going to have to hold onto "Hazel" for our next storm name because--like most of the brackets in the GSD Staff NCAA Hoops pool--our Monday storm is a big fat bust. There's a very slight chance of precipitation in South County, but mostly Monday will be a dreary, cloudy day. Yay.

We wouldn't have you give up complete hope, though, for the likelihood of another storm. It's been such a wacky weather year (last few years, in fact) that we should expect the unexpected. Given how unpredictable storms are these days, plus the potential for superstorms at any time, we could see snow all the way into early May. Or an early hurricane. Or--hopefully not--a tornado.

The week ahead looks a lot like last week. We'll see snow showers and some rain showers with high temps during the day around 40 (or so) and lows at night in the 20s. Hopefully the sap will start to run for all our syrup producers because it's been a rough time for those folks.

Some kind of disturbance is heading our way for Easter Sunday night into Monday. Sound familiar? This one will likely be rain but one never knows, do one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Eyes on Monday

It's amazing that we're still feeling the aftereffects of storm Ginger. These bands of snow showers that we've been seeing (and continue to see) will be impacting our area through the overnight hours on Friday. The NWS even issued a Special Weather Statement today to let people know that some of these squalls could accumulate and make the roads a wee bit slickery.

So, what about Monday?

The Euro model takes the storm to our South and on a slightly slower timeline (more of during the day storm on Monday). The North American model has the storm impacting our area during the early morning hours and AM commute on Monday. Also, the North American model brings more moisture to our region than the Euro, but we're still not talking about a lot of it. We think the very most we'll see would be 6" with higher amounts in South County. We are not predicting 6", but if the storm comes to full fruition--and that's not a sure thing--that's about how much we'll see, which is enough to delay or cancel school on Monday.

Given our recent track record*, we should expect the big fizzle. More of the details will start to come together over the weekend as we track this storm, and we'll of course let you know.

*As far as snow totals go, Ginger actually came through with 6-8" across the County. Even though her timing got out of whack, she delivered her predicted snowfall totals.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wrap-Around Snows as Gingy Departs

Don't be surprised to see an inch or two of big-flake snow on the car tomorrow morning when you get ready to head to school. We're in the middle of strong band of snow right now (9:45 PM) that is part of the west and northwest wraparound moisture from the coastal low that is now in the Gulf of Maine.

The energy from the low should give us bursts of snow for the next 24 hours that will be diminishing in intensity the farther away the low pressure system gets from us.

After that, the cold air moves in for a day and a half or so and then the temps will moderate toward the weekend.

We still are getting signals that there's something brewing for Monday. The Euro model has the storm missing us to the south, but this one model called the GFS is bringing the storm into our area with a set-up very similar to today's mess. So, we can't go calling this a big storm, but there is enough instability and moisture out there for potentially snow, wintery mess for Monday. If the Euro model starts to agree with the GFS, we'll let you know, as that would be a positive development for the snow lovers out there.

Be sure to check out the details of the TNF-GSD Writing Contest. Don't be bashful about entering!

1st Annual Writing Contest Begins

Hello, Followers of the Flake!  Some of you enjoyed a leisurely day off, we hope, while most of us suffered through another day pondering what could have been. Well, at least the unhappy ones today are one day closer to Summer vacation.

Speaking of Summer...

Summer makes us think of Spring, and Spring makes us think of the end of Winter, and the end of Winter makes us sad, so let's do something to cheer everyone up and put a capstone on this pretty productive Winter of 2012-13.

Let's have a writing contest.

The contest is open to any student in Berkshire County in grades K through 12. Our good friends at True North Financial Services are underwriting this competition, and there is serious money on the line: $300 for the grand prize winner; one big ol' Benjamin for each of two finalists. That's $500 in cash. That's no chump change.

So, get your creative cap on and start crafting that epic story that's about snow. (Actually, "epic" may not be quite the right word as you'll have to grab the judges' attention in less than 300 words! Get in, hit quick, and get out!) Entertain us. Make us laugh. Put us on pins and needles. Just make it good, make it original, make snow a central part of it, and that grand prize could be yours! And we'll print the winning entries right here at GSD.

All the rules and requirements are over to the right, and we'll keep that link there for the duration of the competition. Should you decide to enter, make sure you pay close attention to the requirements. April 10th is the deadline. Spread the word. Or don't, if you want to keep your competition to a minimum.

We can't wait to see what our faithful followers will produce!


Ginger Disappoints But Isn't Finished

A quick look at the radar at 11:20 reveals Ginger has one more shot of snow for us before she departs. Here's the view:


This band of snow is moving east-northeast and could drop up to 3" on the Berkshires over the next 2 to 2.5 hours. Maybe those cancellations for Adams/Cheshire, BART, and Central Berk weren't such a bad idea after all! The Winter Storm Warnings are still in effect because of this snow band.

Roads will be slick at the end of the school day; student drivers will need to take it easy.

The good news is that there is the potential for another big snowmaker for Monday. So, what this means is there's an outside chance that we'll get another opportunity to get angry about another near miss.

Ginger Update: Tuesday AM

As far as storms go, Ginger did not bring the snow as we hoped she would. We started to feel less confident last night about this storm, and those fears were realized overnight. Rte 7 is wet but clear in Williamstown and it has stopped snowing in most places in the county.

There is still a patch of snow and some mixed sleet headed our way, as a result of the coastal low, which has now formed. This would make a delay a good choice still despite the low snow totals. We think the Winter Storm Warning will be lifted later this morning.

No schools in the Berkshires have posted delays (or cancellations) yet. Closest to us: Mohawk Trail has closed; Hoosick Falls (NY) called the day off; Berlin went with a 2-hr. delay. If Berlin only delayed, then you know this isn't that serious of a storm.

We will add school names to this post as the pronouncements come in.

Central Berkshire (CLOSED)
Adams-Cheshire (CLOSED)
BART (CLOSED)
So. Berkshire (2-hr Delay)

Monday, March 18, 2013

One More Update for Ginger

For all you night owls, we couldn't help ourselves. We finished up some paperwork around the office and felt compelled to send out one final report. A couple of observations:

*It's snowing.
*It's sticking to the roads.
*At least 4 or 5 more hours of snow will fall.
*The Heat are annoying.
*The low pressure system is starting to form off the course and turn the moisture more northerly.
*The storm is not a fast mover.
*We're not changing the True North Confidence Meter.
*There will be more delays than days off tomorrow.

Here are some graphics:

Radar as of 10:45; still worried about the dry slot over PA.
A much improved snowcast from Channel 10.
The school closest to Berkshire County that has called off school already is Long Trail, up there in Ver-mont. Congratulations!

We'll be back at it tomorrow early to post the running tally of delays and closures as they are announced.

Storm Ginger: Late Night Report

We just endured a grueling 2-hour staff meeting. Junior Staffers on the left said, "Ginger's the bomb! She's going to deliver! Snow day all the way, baby!"

The older guard on the right countered: "Not so fast, young ones. Have you looked at the radar recently? Do you see that massive patch of dry air to our south and west? Is the snow just going to materialize out of thin air?"

It went back and forth like that for a while, but in the end the Junior Staffers begrudgingly came to their senses. The Senior Staffers smiled smugly as if to say, "We've been here before."

So, GSD is officially hedging its earlier bet that practically guaranteed snow days for the northern 2/3rds of Berkshire County. Here's our conundrum, which is your conundrum:

*After the initial blast of snow from around 10 PM to 1 AM, when we'll see about 3 inches come down, we might even see the snow stop toward 3 and 4 AM. This lull in the action could entice school officials to go with a mere delay or even--curses!--a full day of school. For the love of Methusalah, no!
*BUT--and it's a big "but"--the forecast is still for plenty of sleet and snow throughout the day. Will Superintendents risk it and say we've already had too many weather interruptions this year? Or will they err on the side of caution and not risk potentially dangerous travel? This is the $64 gazillion question of the evening.

Look. No one at the GSD Office is happy about our flippity-flopping. We truly hope we're dead wrong and Ginger delivers on her promises. But the visual proof is just too obvious right now (the radar).


Our only hope is if the moisture down there just north of Charlotte moves in a more northerly direction. Right now it looks like it wants to slide off the coast to our south. As the coastal low develops in the overnight hours, it will want to lift that moisture over our region. The problem is that the big chunk of moisture could sneak by us to our east and impact New Hampshire and Maine in a more significant fashion than it will impact us.

We still think there will be plenty of delays to go around tomorrow morning--possibly even the entire county--but we won't be surprised if a few Supers south of Pittsfield decide to go with the full day.

Storm Ginger: Early Evening Update

Things are getting very exciting for Storm Ginger. Here's a look at the latest radar (5:20 PM):


You can see that the snow is virtually on our doorstep. Some of the blue you see here is virga (which means it's not snowing quite yet), but we expect the snow will really start to come down around 8 PM tonight.

There's no question the first blast from Ginger will be all snow, and it could come down at a 1-2" per hour clip. There's no real need to go out and drive around after 10:00 PM.

The big concern is a pocket of drier air out in the Ohio Valley. If this dry air makes it all the way to Western New England, we could see a brief break in the action tomorrow morning. See this map to understand what we're talking about:


All of the weather is moving in an east-north-east direction, but that dry spot over western PA and all of Ohio could impact Berkshire County during the morning commute.That would not be ideal.

The good news, though, is that the MCAS test has been moved to Monday, as we reported earlier thanks to some very alert followers of GSD. Thanks for the tip! The postponement of the composition portion of the test will certainly make it much easier for Supers to call in the full day.

Given the timing, the threat of ice, and the fact that the storm will continue throughout the day tomorrow, we're decidedly bullish about a full snow day. Ginger is behaving in a most becoming manner, and we couldn't be happier.

We'll have a final update later this evening, and you might want to start investigating activity options other than school for the hours between 8 and 3.

Ginger and Ice, How Nice

Ice.

Such a devilishly little word. But its importance is so central to the decisions that Superintendents have to make tomorrow.

If the storm jogs a little right or a little left, the snow could turn to sleet. If you live at 900 feet or 1000 feet, that extra 100 feet of elevation can make a big difference.

You know what they say: Snow is snow but ice is ice. Ice is "in case of emergency." Ice is the x-factor. Ice is the bogeyman. You want a glimpse, but you really don't want to see the full creature in all his powers. You want just enough to coat the roads, but not so much that it's pulling down wires and knocking down trees.

If you want that snow day in a late winter storm, you need to be pulling for ice.

Midday Report: Storm Ginger & MCAS Update

Storm Ginger, with her flowing reddish-auburn locks, will slip into our area starting around 8:00 tonight.

The snow line is currently on the Pennsylvania/New York border and inching slowly toward us. The radar reveals only a moderate amount of moisture, but that moisture zone will expand significantly as the energy of the low pressure system reaches the coast and strengthens over the slightly warmer waters.

At this point, 8" of snow seems a little high for the Berkshires. We're going to lower our totals to the 3-6" range at this point in the forecasting process. The storm should still bring in mixed precipitation for our area at some point, which puts the morning commute in the danger zone. The combination of ice with the heavy, wet snow could lead to power outages as well.

South County schools will be sweating out a delay or full day of school. North County schools will more than likely have a delay and some could see the full snow day. We need to get a better sense of how long the storm will last before we give our final pronouncements about the chances of a shortened day or no day at all.

The State of Massachusetts has postponed the MCAS test until Monday for the entire state. So, MCAS is no longer an issue for the superintendents' decisions.

We've been duped before from these late winter storms, so there's no resting easy tonight with Ginger.

Winter Storm Warning for Tonight

Around 4 AM, the NWS upgraded our storm from a Watch to a Warning. The snow total predictions haven't changed--we're still on for 4-8"--but what has changed is that ice accumulation is almost a certainty for the Berkshires.

The storm will start as snow; the icing should occur as we get closer to dawn and the morning commute. We could see up to .25" of ice, which is significant. Ice will keep the snow totals down, but the ice could make tomorrow's commute even dicier than it was already going to be. We've raised our delay percentage on the True North Confidence Meter to account for the ice.

We'll have much more later, including information about MCAS testing and how that will be impacted for districts.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Maps for Monday/Tuesday Storm

See the last post for more info about the storm, but we thought we'd pass these two local maps along. Obviously, one is more attractive than the other!


Not bad. Now the bad news.


"Round" 1 suggests there's a Round 2, which will take place throughout the first half of the day on Tuesday, but Channel 10 is not inspiring much confidence.

The many variables will make the final prediction for this storm an adventure--wish us luck!

Winter Storm Watch for Monday Night/Tuesday

As of 5 PM today, the National Weather Service announced a Winter Storm Watch for all of Berkshire County.

The prediction from the NWS is for 4-8 inches of snow with mixed precipitation, especially in the morning commute hours on Tuesday. The south part of the county will see more mixing than the northern part. We should see the higher end of the snow prediction for points north of Pittsfield, and lower amounts (4") south of Pittsfield.

The timing is still by far the best part of the storm for those wishing for a full snow day.

More to come tomorrow as we sort out three things: the exact timing of the start of the storm, the timing of the changeover to mixed precipitation, and how long the storm will last on Tuesday.

Keep your fingers crossed, and don't forget to vote for this storm's name. (The Weather Channel has chosen Ukko.)

Tuesday Storm Update

Just a couple of tidbits to pass along for the storm on Tuesday.

Here's what NOAA is saying:

IF THE PRECIP REMAINS ALL SNOW...SEVERAL LOCATIONS
COULD BE APPROACHING OR EXCEEDING 1 FOOT.

And here's a helpful graphic from the Weather Channel:


Please note that more snow is predicted during the day on Tuesday, so that 5-8" prediction should bloom to 8-12". Very nice!

Tuesday's Storm Developments

Get ready for another Northeast snow storm for Tuesday! Almost all indications point to a significant snowfall for our area, possibly a foot or more.

The timing is perfect for the storm, as it will begin in the evening on Monday about 8 or 9 PM. The amount of moisture could be in the 1 to 2 inch range, which would translate to 10 to 20 inches of snow. What will keep snow totals down is the chance of a period of mixed precipitation. Realistically, we are looking at the potential for 6 to 12 inches.

Courtesy of Accuweather.

The only really big issue is MCAS testing, the first day of which is scheduled for that Tuesday. We'll see if the State hands down a decree about how to proceed, but it could be a major factor for school superintendents.

This could be winter's last stand. Enjoy the hype. For some schools, this could be the first full snow day of the entire winter.

Happy St. Patty's day, and don't forget to vote for this storm's name. We will name her tomorrow around noon when the poll closes.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tuesday Storm is For Real

All indications are positive for a moderate and/or heavy snow producer for Monday night into Tuesday. It still might turn to rain, but the consensus in the all the weather discussion groups is that a storm of some significance will hit western New England that will start Monday night and go through the day on Tuesday.

Accuweather is already calling for 4-8" inches; the NOAA probabilistic snow discussion has us getting 4+ inches: and GSD has put up a new storm name poll. These are clear indications that a medium to big storm is on the way! (You have until noon on Monday to vote so don't delay!)

What's encouraging is most of the models are starting to agree.  Even the North American and Euro models are syncing up and spitting out similar scenarios for Monday/Tuesday.

Do keep in mind that the big issue for this storm will be temperature. The storm will start out as snow but mixed precipitation could be a big factor, and valley areas may see rain during the day on Tuesday. That would be a negative scenario. A positive scenario would be an all snow event, with heavy snow throughout the Berkshires.

Our staff is on the case; we'll have a more detailed report tomorrow.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Monday Night/Tuesday Storm

Old Man Winter says, "It's a marathon, not a sprint." The old fella's still chugging along right there around mile 24, and it looks like he's cooking up a messy commute for Tuesday morning.

We're still sorting out the models, but we like what we see. Once again--for perhaps the 4th or 5th time this winter season--we are dealing with two storm systems, one out of the Great Lakes and one to our south off the coast. If they phase, we could have a moderate snow storm. If they don't, we'll see light precipitation.

Hmmm...very interesting. (courtesy of Accuweather)

Phasing seems to be the preferred forecast right now. And the timing looks superb. If ice is in the mix, delays are a virtual certainty. The fly in the ointment is the possibility that it will be too warm on Monday and Tuesday, and we'll see an early mix and then rain.

The GSD Doppler 9000 will be running 'round the clock for the next few days to deliver only the best storm information!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Snow for Tuesday (3/19)?

After the warm-up over the weekend, the cold air is back in place in will be locked in for a few days. We spotted a few snow flurries and showers this evening (Wednesday), but there is no measurable snow in the near-term forecast. More flurries Thursday are a reality.

Thursday will be cold--highs only in the 20s. The rest of the weekend looks more moderate, with temps in the mid 30s.

We are in a stormy pattern right now. We could see an Alberta Clipper for our area Friday night into Saturday, and we do have our eye on a more potent storm for Tuesday, March 19th. That storm has our  interest, but it's not something anyone needs to get to worked up about...just yet.

We'll post again over the weekend.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week of March 11

We have a seasonably warm week in store for us. Temps will top out in the low 50s Monday, and then a steady rain moves in for Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the cold comes back and slowly drops. Low 40s for Wednesday and low 30s for Thursday. Temps will moderate back to the mid 30s for next weekend.

Unfortunately, no snowstorms are in sight. We firmly believe we'll see one more round of snow before the winter season ends, as we have been in a very stormy pattern of late.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Storm Fannie: Final Summation

Please see our previous post for which districts have delays and which ones called the whole thing off. Enjoy that three-day weekend, South County and North Adams! The big mystery is the absence of Pittsfield from the list. We can only surmise that the half day/professional development day gummed up the works for our county's capital.

Technically, we missed the mark on our prediction, but at least we got it wrong in the right direction. Because the past two storms were flubs, we figured we'd lowball this one. In our defense, NOAA has called this storm "atypical" (and climate change is still a myth, right?).

As for the rest of the day, we'll see light snow up to noon, and it may hang on for another hour after that. There are some stronger bands to our east and south, but it doesn't look like they quite have enough oomph to make it to the Berkshires. Total snowfall will approach 7 or 8" inches. The temps will be warming up, so we'll see what that does do our snow fall. It should not turn over to rain today.

Clearing tonight and then actual bona fide sunshine tomorrow--mid to upper 40s. Break out the shorts! Clouds but still warm on Sunday.

Fannie's Friday Follies

It's still snowing and there are several more hours of snow on the way. Delays are highly likely this morning, and it will not shock the GSD Staff to see a few full closures from Frannie. The snowfall is relatively light but persistent.

Snow will fall until noon or so, and the wind is starting to whip up, causing the snow in the trees to blow into the streets.

Here is our running list of county school delays and closures:

Adams-Cheshire (2 hrdelay)
Central Berkshire (2 hr. delay)
BART (2 hr. delay)
Mt. Greylock (2 hr. delay)
Pine Cobble (2 hr. delay)
McCann (2 hr. delay)

Berkshire Hills (closed)
North Adams (closed)
Lenox (closed)
So. Berkshire (closed)
Lee (closed)

Storm Fannie Super Late Night Report

Roads are snow-covered in Williamstown and North Adams, and the radar looks delightful for several more hours of snow.

There are a few strong bands of snow still moving slowly from the east. The NWS issued a Special Weather Statement at 12:25 AM about these strong bands, but we also see a few breaks to our east that might impede snow accumulation. We won't be surprised to see light or moderate snow during the critical 5 AM to 6 AM hour when Superintendents make their decisions. Fingers are crossed.

We'll update early Friday AM, but we think the chance of a delay has improved slightly.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Storm Fannie Evening Report

It's coming down to beat the band right now.

Main roads in Northern Berkshire county are wet but clear of snow; side roads are now covered.

The moisture is doing a very good job of pushing westward. We may see a slight lull from 9 PM to 11 PM but then it looks a heavy band of snow will impact all of the area around midnight.

We still are sticking with our 50% chance of a delay prediction. We know it's not particularly helpful, but we just do not have enough confidence that the moderate snowfall will continue into the dawn hours tomorrow morning. Believe us when we tell you we want it to continue, but there are some columns of lighter precipitation that are tempering our enthusiasm with this storm.

We are confident that the Berks will see 4" from this storm, if not more.

You're rolling the dice if you opt out of doing your homework tonight. Good luck with that decision!

Storm Fannie: Midday Report

Continuing with the boxing/MMA theme with Fannie...

Just when we were ready to count Fannie out with a TKO in the first round, she got the old smelling salts out, hitched up the proverbial skirt, and showed a little spunk. NOAA is forecasting 2-6" for our region, but some of the local meteorologists think that total will be a little higher. We'll just see about that...

We have enjoyed a visually pleasing light snowfall all day today, and we are hopeful that this snow is a precursor to some much heavier bands of power snow later this evening.

The snow is filling in nicely this afternoon, as almost all of southern New England is experiencing snow. As the low pressure out of the Great Lakes links up with energy from the big coastal storm tonight, we should see more aggressive snow bands pass over our region during the evening hours.

The concern is the timing of the heavier bands of snow. They will probably hit us in the 11 PM to 2 AM zone. This means road crews will have ample time to deal with them especially if we see a let-up after the bands pass through. If we're going to get a delay, we'll need the snow to continue to fall through 5 or 5:30 AM tomorrow.

At the moment, the GSD Staff is in agreement that a snow day is almost out of the question, but it will be a 50/50 proposition for the entire county. We'll reserve the right to change our minds, but we think that's how it's going to go down. That means no slacking off tonight--study for your math or vocabulary quiz for tomorrow!

Fannie Fights Back -- WWA Through Noon Tomorrow

Fannie still has a little punch in her yet. Despite the lack of snow this morning, it looks like she's going to come around nicely for tonight and tomorrow. We have a Winter Weather Advisory for all of the Berkshires in effect until midday tomorrow.


The timing looks very good for delay and possible snow day scenarios tomorrow. We're going to update the True North Confidence Meter at this point, and we'll give more storm details about Fannie later today.

Snow will start late this afternoon and carry through the night. The AM commute tomorrow will be messy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Storm Fannie Update

An impressive wall of moisture is pounding the capital region. Unfortunately, that capital region is about 400 miles to our south. The low pressure system is more or less stalled out on the mid-Atlantic coast because the big, strong high pressure system situated over northern New England is locking it in place.

Optimism from Channel 10.
The low pressure system rotates counterclockwise and the high pressure system rotates clockwise. Where these two systems meet--practically right over us--we're seeing the outcome: very light snow showers and snow drizzle from our east. The winds will also kick up from the east as this light moisture pulls over us. A few snow bursts could be more moderate this evening and cover the roads.

It's unlikely the big wall of moisture to our south will have that much of an impact on the Berkshires as we will be on the fringe of Fannie's ferocity.

Even more optimism from Accuweather.
Tonight, we should see 1 or 2" of slushy snow. Tomorrow the precipitation will stop for a while mid-day, then the storm gets going again in the evening. The storm is moving slower than we originally thought, so we now have a better chance of a delay for Friday. We could see 3-4" in the overnight hours on Thursday, creating slick conditions for AM commute. We've flip-flopped our delay predictions for Thursday and Friday, but neither inspire much confidence for a shorter school day.

So much depends on the lifting of the high pressure, which will allow the low pressure to move in a northwest direction. It's a powerful storm, and we'll see that power when the winds kick up later and tomorrow.

Storm Fannie Losing Her Punch

Storm Fannie it is! (The Weather Channel is going with Saturn on this one.)

Fannie's first punch--kind of a weak and slow left jab--will actually start in the form of light drizzle later today. Tonight she'll change over to snow, but we're only looking at 1-2" with 2" below I-90 and less north of the interstate. We will likely not see a Winter Weather Advisory for phase 1 of the storm, which is not good news for our snow day or even our delay chances.

Precipitation will stop late morning and may even take a break for a while. Then Fannie winds up for her second punch. Unfortunately for Fannie, she's in the lightweight division and she hasn't exactly been hitting the heavy bag lately. Her right cross brings snow starting in the afternoon on Thursday, and we'll see anywhere from 2-4" during the evening and early overnight hours. There will be more snow for the Northern Berkshires this second time around. There is a chance for a delay scenario for Friday but only a slight one.

The combination of weak punches and a poorly timed second punch leave us with no other choice than to attend school for a full day. There certainly is a chance that some districts will call in a delay (especially in South county for tomorrow), but we imagine road crews will have a pretty easy time of dealing with Frannie.

Fearsome Fighting Frannie

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Thursday Storm Update

You still have a few hours left to vote for the name of Thursday's storm. We will be naming this storm, regardless if it is a bust or not.

So, will it be a bust?

Local NOAA forecasters are now calling for a light to moderate snow event for our area. The best chance of snow will be for western and central New England. There are two distinct phases to this storm. One will definitely impact the commute for Thursday morning; the other phase will bring snow to the region in the evening later that day.

For now let's say 2" or so (slightly more in South County; slightly less in the north) for the morning part and an additional 2-4" for the evening portion. Is that enough for a snow day? Probably not unless the forecast for snow increases a few inches. And it also depends on what the forecast is for midday Thursday. Evening activities for Thursday may be in jeopardy, which isn't great news for cagers and thespians.



Our last two storms started out with 6-10" predictions, and look what happened there (hint: not a lot). We're not overly excited about our prospects for a snow day, but we could see a delay.

The GSD Staff is still holding out hope, though, as this system has the potential to become a bigger threat to our area with the many variables in play for this complicated snow event.

We're bringing in extra staff tonight to monitor the storm.

More Good News for Thursday

We don't like to stir up the hype, but the storm looks like it wants to hang out on the coast for a little while, which will throw moisture (in that classic counter-clockwise pattern) over our area. Then the storm will head out to sea but not after leaving a trail of white stuff behind.

Here's what Accuweather is saying:
The heaviest snow, up to a foot, may bury portions of Connecticut, western Massachusetts and southernmost portions of Vermont and New Hampshire.
We know spring sports are right around the corner, but one last big snow effort for our region would not be too hard to stomach, especially because the late winter temps will melt the snow away within a week.

Let's not forget that March typically has one good snow storm in it; one of the most famous was the Storm of the Century in mid-March of 1993. There's no way we'll approach those levels of snow, but our readings of the tea leaves indicate we may indeed have a school-truncating event on the way for Thursday.

Much more to follow...


Snow Day Thursday?

Here's another good sign that the storm may take a more northerly track:


Accuweather is prone to exaggeration--they're calling for 4-8"from Wednesday night through Friday--but all this means is that the storm may not be heading as far out to sea as they all thought. The high pressure that is in place is showing signs that it wants to leave, which is opening the space for this coastal low pressure system.

GSD is on the case...stay tuned.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chance for Snow Wednesday

We're seeing signs of life from our big coastal storm. Yesterday it was dead before arrival, but today it has a faint pulse. The change in heart from meteorologists has to do with the US model guidance, which takes the storm more to the north and west.

Right now we might see light snow in the morning, rain during the day, and then a return to snow Wednesday night that could last until Thursday morning. Please be advised that this scenario would be the best possible outcome given the limited information we have.

Most meteorologists think that we will not even get a Winter Weather Advisory out of this storm, so we're obviously not looking at a lot of moisture for us.

The ground is always whiter on the other side of the fence.
If the storm continues to show sign of more northerly movement, we'll let you know immediately.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Quiet Week Ahead

The "big storm" we talked about last post will unfortunately head out to sea to our south. It's a shame we never got to meet its acquaintance.

As for this week of March 4th, it looks like a typical late winter week. In other words, dullsville. We'll see some snow shower activity Monday and possibly early Tuesday. The clouds will eventually dissipate and the sunshine will follow. Temps will predictably get up towards the low- to mid-40s.

The biggest news this week is that we change the clocks ahead on Saturday. For some reason the reminder about the clocks seems to fall on the shoulders of weather people.

If anything develops, you know we'll bring you the best weather news for the Berkshires.

We're running out of time for this winter! Let's hope Old Man Winter has at least one more storm to send our way.