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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Storm Update

The National Weather Service is covering its behind by announcing a Winter Weather Advisory until 5 AM on Wednesday for Berkshire County. We at GSD think this announcement is overly optimistic that wintry precipitation will fall in our area.

As of 10 PM on Tuesday night, a steady rain was falling at the home office in Billsville with a temperature reading of 32.5 degrees. We might see the temps drop a degree or so, so icing is possible, but the radar and the generally warm feel to the air out there suggests there won't be significant icing in the overnight hours.

For those readers who have school on Wednesday, we'll keep a 10% chance in our Confidence Meter, but we think you'll have to endure your full half day before you're on a glorious four-day break from your edifice of higher learning.

We'll post later in the week with our long-range forecast for December.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Chance for a Pre-Storm Delay (11/26)

The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for the Berkshires due to possible bursts of snow during the commute on Tuesday. With plenty of cold air in place overnight and a lot of moisture on the way in advance of the big Wednesday storm, we could be surprised with an inch on the ground as we make our way to school tomorrow.

Here's what the radar looked like at 10 PM on Monday:


The patch of blue out there in western New York is headed in an easterly direction and should arrive in the Berkshires around 4 AM. We don't think they'll be delays--superintendents will likely be caught off guard by this one--but we'll at least acknowledge this minor weathermaker with a 10% chance on the ol' True North Confidence Meter.

More about Wednesday's storm tomorrow.

Just a Bit Inside: The First Big Miss of the Season

Here's a good glimpse at the size of this pre-Thanksgiving blockbuster (almost) storm from our friends at NOAA-Albany: "This [storm] will nearly guarantee the heaviest precipitation in months over our region."

And we were really very, very close to a major snow event. The Adirondacks should see over half a foot of snow, and had the low pressure system tracked 75 miles to the east, the Berkshires would have been buried in snow. Instead, we'll nearly be drowned Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday with upwards of 3" of rain. It's never quite fair to do the rain/snow equivalent of 1" of rain equaling 10" of snow (it never quite works out that way), but do the math and you can see that we narrowly missed--as a grandma might have said--a doozy of a storm.

Look for rain to o'erspread the Berkshires in the early afternoon on Tuesday. We may see a few flakes and hear some sleet at the onset but that won't last for very long. We won't see banding with this storm (intense periods of precipitation) like we might with a snow-making nor'easter, but the rain will be moderate and steady and last all the way until Wednesday night. At the end of the storm, as we stated yesterday's post, we'll see a few bursts of snow showers and squalls as the temps drop significantly. These bursts of snow could accumulate up to 1".

We'll let you know if anything changes, dear snow followers. The good news is we see an unsettled weather pattern settling in for the next few weeks. "Unsettled" is a word we want to see in the forecast, as that means several low pressure systems will be visiting these parts.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Eve (11/24) Storm Update

The computer models are starting to line up and all indications suggest we will have a major storm Tuesday night into Wednesday. Unfortunately, not enough cold air is going to be in place, and the bulk of the precipitation will be in the form of wet, wet rain.

For those of you begging for a snow day on Wednesday--not all schools in the Berkshires have school that day--your best chance is to hope for a significant period of ice (in the form of sleet) in the critical pre-dawn hours when superintendents make their call. One of the computer models is calling for this scenario, but we think that model is optimistic.

Officially, the GSD staff is calling for about an inch of slushy snow after midnight on Tuesday followed by a good, old-fashioned rain storm during the day on Wednesday. Travel of any kind in the Northeast on Wednesday will be a bear even if it doesn't snow that much. By Wednesday late afternoon the storm should be tapering down, and many locales on Wednesday night could see a few accumulating snow showers and snow squalls as the storm heads toward the Canadian Maritimes. As the storm departs, we'll see a significant drop in the temperature and it will feel like January on Turkey Day, not late November.

We'll keep updating this storm to see if we need to bump up our chances for a delay on Wednesday.

Friday, November 22, 2013

We're Dreaming of a White Thanksgiving

We'll see several chances for snow in the air over the next few days (Saturday 11/23 and Monday night 11/25). It's unlikely the snow will accumulate on the ground, but the airborne white stuff (flurries and showers, mostly) should brighten snowhound's spirits as we get more and more into the winter mood.

But the big news is a possible Wednesday storm. Who wouldn't love a five day weekend? Right now the snow forecasting models are all over the place, but one of them is calling for a low pressure to move up the east coast and into the Gulf of Maine on Wednesday. With below average temps firmly in place for the middle of next week, it's more likely than not that we'll see snow on Wednesday. How much--and how much that dastardly rain mixes in--all depends on the track of the low pressure and whether or not a secondary low forms and extends the period of precipitation for the Northeast.

As for the track of the storm, if it's too tight to the coast, we'll see the bulk of the snow fall in the Adirondacks. If the track is along the coast but not too tight, we could see a moderate snowfall (4-6") for Wednesday. If the track is even a little farther out, we'll definitely see snow but only an inch or two.

For those folks braving the highways and byways on Wednesday, you'll definitely want to keep your eyes and ears open about this potential medium-sized snow event.

That low over Georgia could track more northerly, bringing us our first storm of the season.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Eyes on a Saturday (Nov. 23) Winter Event

The latest news from NOAA is for a possible winter weather event for Saturday, November 23. A low pressure system will come out of the Ohio Valley Friday night and then do its strengthening thing along the mid-Atlantic coast on Saturday. The coastal low will move up toward Cape Cod and suck colder air over the top and down into our region. Right now it sounds like it's going to be a wetter winter storm, with rain, sleet and wet snow all mixing in together. Whether or not it's a plowable event is very much up in the air.

Because it's on a Saturday, we're not going to get too fired up about this storm's prospects. Still, it does sound as if it could impact games and travel on that day.

It's a little too early to even think about giving this storm a name, but we're definitely aware of its potential presence on Saturday for the Berkshires.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Forecast for November 18-22: [crickets chirping]

You hear that? You mean, you don't hear anything? Listen in close now. That noise is the sound of...crickets. As in NOTHING IS HAPPENING on the East Coast storm front these days. The hardworking members of the GSD Staff do not see any kind of snow event for at least a few weeks.

This upcoming week will be mild but not as mild as the lovely stretch of warmth we enjoyed this past Thursday through Saturday. We will see a major wind storm Sunday evening--with possible high wind advisories--and even a possible thunderstorm in our area. The threat of rain that will come with this wind should persist until Monday morning's commute. After that short stretch of wild weather, we will see temps and conditions moderate to more seasonal norms. We will see highs in the upper 30s and lower 40s, and nighttime lows will be in the low to mid 20s. And it will be mostly dry all the way through the weekend.

The next chance for snow showers will be on Saturday the 23rd. (That doesn't help our cause one bit.) If you're truly desperate for snow news, the best we can offer you is Accuweather's forecast for a wintry mix on Tuesday, December 3rd. We know that The Farmer's Almanac is bad at long range forecasts, but Accuweather is definitely a close second place. The likelihood of a real snow/ice event on the 3rd is very slim.  Occasionally, blind squirrels do find nuts so we'll keep an eye on it, but there are many long rows to hoe before we get to the 3rd.

Enjoy the last full week before Thanksgiving vacation! We hope to have better news soon.

Monday, November 11, 2013

NWS Issues Special Statement for the Tuesday (11/12) Commute

Happy Veteran's Day, everyone! The cold front we discussed yesterday is fast approaching. As the temperatures enter into a steep decline, we'll see moisture in the form of snow showers. Because there is a significant amount of moisture in the air, we could see intense snow squalls between the hours of 5 am and 9 am. Or so says the National Weather Service for parts of our region.

Plenty o' moisture.
Because of the brief, intense and sporadic nature of these squalls, schools really will have no opportunity to postpone school should the roads get coated with white stuff.

We don't think they'll be any problems with the commute tomorrow, but there's a chance it will be messy and you'll need extra time to get to school or work.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week of November 11: Snow Showers Tuesday, Dry Thereafter

From this point forward, you can expect regular posts and updates from the crack staff at GSD because it is officially--and we've been waiting seven months to say these words--SNOW SEASON!

The first true sustained flurry of the season (was observed by the GSD Staff on Friday (Nov. 8) at about 7:45 in the mean streets of Williamstown. It didn't accumulate, but it sure was a sight for sore eyes.

As for this upcoming week, we have a very quiet week in store for us. Some of our more antsy snow hounds were champing at the bit about the news of a potential blockbuster storm predicted for the end of the week. Only one outlier computer model was predicting this major nor'easter, but that was all it took to ramp up the hype machine. Alas, that outlier model proved erroneous, and the big potential storm will sail out to sea to our south.

The cold front approacheth (from Accuweather).

But all is not lost for this week. We may see the ground covered with snow in the Berkshires when we wake up on Tuesday. A cold front will move through our area with possible light wet precipitation changing over to snow showers. Higher elevations should see the snow stick as it will be plenty cold enough, and there could be enough air in place in the lower elevations for snow. Whatever happens, accumulations will not impact the morning commute.

Our eyes are still open for the first impactful snow of the season. We may have to wait awhile, according to the long-range forecast for November and December.