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

Friday, January 31, 2014

February 5 Storm Taking Shape

At the GSD Office we try to avoid being a part of the weather hype machine, but for the storm expected to hit us starting on Tuesday night and lasting through the day on Wednesday, it looks like  a major snow event is unavoidable. We haven't had a slam dunk in a while--there was plenty of uncertainty with storm Brooklyn--but right now a February 5 snow day almost appears to be a certainty.

Even though we're five days out from the arrival of this storm, the models are in agreement, and there do not seem to be too many variables in play that would turn the storm into a bust. Even though this storm could very well fizzle, we do not often see such calm agreement between models and forecasters at this early stage in the forecast.

So, first things first, we need a storm name and we need it fast. Vote early and often. We'll close down voting by midnight on Super Bowl Sunday.

Second, be prepared for snow showers changing to rain showers on Saturday. We won't see much accumulation. Sunday night we could see more snow showers as the fringe of a coastal low tries to force its way into our area. Temps will be mild, though, on Sunday. Monday looks calm before the clouds move in on Tuesday. Snow should start in the early evening hours on Tuesday. School and community events Tuesday night will likely not happen.

We're bullish on this storm, and we're feeling confident about it. You should never ever be surprised about any odd turn in the events when it comes to Berkshire weather, but you should head into this weekend knowing that a big weather event is headed our way for the midweek. And we're also hearing grumblings about another big storm for the week of Feb. 10. Remember, the typical storm pattern is that they come in threes about a week apart. Let's hope so!

Thank you, Accuweather.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Midweek Snow Storm (Feb. 5)?

It looks like a prediction for snow showers Friday has dried up. Our current "next best chance" is for snow Saturday morning with a possible changeover to sleet and then rain in the afternoon. Accumulation will only total an inch, if that.

Sunday and Monday look like calm, normal winter days with temps maxing out at 40 for Sunday but dropping into the high 20s for Monday.

The big news is the model agreement that a not insignificant storm will hit the Berkshires midweek. All the pieces are in place--a low pressure system coming from the south; mid-Atlantic coastal low pressure redevelopment; plenty of moisture (1" of liquid).

Two things we like about this storm: It's very early for the models (Euro and American) to be in agreement, and we love the amount of moisture associated with this predicted storm. Even with liquid-to-snow ratios on the low side of (8 or 10 to 1), we would see 10" of snow Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning. 

We'll give it one more day but we'll probably roll out a storm name poll midday tomorrow.

Winter's back, baby, and better than ever!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January's Weak Exit; Hoping for a Better February

Ever since our exciting Jan. 2 and 3rd snow storm, it has been one dull day after another on the snow front. We still added to our seasonal totals in January, but these drib-and-drab Alberta clippers don't leave a lot of room for seat-of-your-pants excitement that nor'easters bring.

We have two weathermakers to contend with as we head into Super Bowl weekend. Thursday night into Friday we'll see an inch of light snow from an AC, and then Saturday we're looking at more light snow, possibly changing to sleet and/or all rain. North of the Berkshires will see all snow, and potentially 3 or 4". We won't be so lucky in these parts. Hopefully, the rain will not wipe out the very thin base of full snow cover we have right now. The snow cover can aid snow fall, especially when there is a storm with temps at or around freezing.

We are hearing a few rumblings about a midweek storm (week of Feb. 3). The jet stream is very flat right now, which isn't good for storm production. Only when the jet stream forms that characteristic "U" or inverted omega shape do we start to see those coastal low pressure systems.

A return to this type of jet stream pattern would lead to more storms.
We think the we'll get that bend in the jet stream after the Saturday storm passes through our area. But this winter is on its downslope. With only two weeks to go before February vacation, Old Man Winter needs to get out of the rocking chair and back to work.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Alberta Clipper for Monday (Jan. 27)

When we last posted, we were thinking Monday's clipper would outshine Saturday's clipper. Turns out the opposite will be the case as Saturday's clipper dropped 3" on the GSD Home Office, and it looks like tomorrow's clipper (Monday) will be lucky to bring us an inch.

There will be a few light snow bands moving across our area tonight, but the direct hit will be over Southern and Central Vermont. We are seeing a few light flakes right now (10 PM Sunday), but we expect no accumulating snow by morning. We should see heavier snow during the late morning hours tomorrow, but we'll top out at 1 inch. Snow showers might persist into the afternoon, but this snow should not impact after school activities or games tomorrow afternoon and night.

We still will see AC #3 on Thursday, but--again--accumulations look light (under 2"). The low temperatures will be the big story Tuesday and Wednesday, and of course everybody will want to know what the weather forecast is going to be for Super Bowl Sunday and its first-ever visit to the Northeast (Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey). Will Bruno Mars have to replace his fedora with flappy ear hat? Right now, we're looking at a slight chance of showers and temps in the mid 30s. Not too shabby for the first weekend in February. We'll have more about that event later in the week.

Sadly, we have absolutely nothing to offer you in the way of future big storms. We'll see light snow this week, and it will stick around for a while, but we see no storms in the 5+" range for at least a week. As soon as we hear something remotely good, we'll pass it on.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Snow for Saturday and Sunday/Monday (Jan. 25-27)

Get out the flags and the folding chairs because we're about to witness--as one of our trusted sources has put it--a "Clipper parade."

A series of of Alberta Clippers will breeze through our area. As you ought to know by now if you're a regular reader of these posts, Alberta Clippers are almost always fast-moving and almost always bring light to moderate snow to our area. Such is the case with the snow-makers this week.

Today's clipper (Saturday) will impact the Berkshires later this afternoon. We should see 1-2" from this first low pressure system. Tomorrow's clipper may end being more of a Monday clipper and it should be the more robust of the three storms we'll see this week. We could see 3-5" out of that one. If the timing is right--and it might be--we could see delays on Monday morning. The True North Confidence Meter will reflect a low probability for a delay, but the chance does exist.

Then we'll see another clipper on Thursday. This one should be more like Saturday's and will give us another shot of 1-3" of fluffy light snow.

The snow will be fluffy and light because it will continue to be cold. In fact, between these three ACs we'll see the return of that that bone-chilling cold. We'll be around 10-12 degrees for highs on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Not to get you too excited, but we may have something bigger brewing for next weekend and possibly the Monday after the Super Bowl. At the GSD Office we've long thought that the Monday after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday, but perhaps that wish will be granted for our region this year because of snow (or ice). We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Double Advisory Tuesday

The news keeps getting better about our snow situation for Tuesday afternoon and night. The coastal storm expected to form this afternoon will hug the coast more tightly than had been expected. This means that we could see anywhere from 3" (North County) to 7" (South County) this afternoon and tonight.

Berkshire County has been issued a Winter Weather Advisory. We also have a Wind Chill Advisory to contend with, as the temps today will top out at 15 and go down to close to zero tonight. And that's when the wind will surge so be very careful if you have to be outdoors for very long after dark.

As for delays or days off tomorrow, we really don't like the timing of this storm. The storm will be a fast mover and start in the late afternoon hours and be out of our hair by 3 or 4 AM Wednesday. The snow will be very light because of the cold, which will lead to blowing and drifting snow problems. We'll see about 2 or 3" of snow in the North and 4-5" South. We won't be surprised to see South County schools call in the delay tomorrow morning. We'll up the True North Confidence Meter to reflect the improving forecast.

We'll have more if breaking weather news warrants it. Enjoy the snow, but watch the cold.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Snow Possible for Tuesday Night (Jan. 21)

All Hail, Winter! Winter returns this week.

The forecast is simple this week. It's going to get cold and it's going to snow. Monday's high temp will be the week's high temp, and we'll see highs in the single digits on Wednesday. The lowest temperature we'll see all week is in the early morning hours of Wednesday when we could go below zero. We should get back up to the low and mid-20s by the weekend.

We do have our eye on a coastal storm for Tuesday night. The models are bringing the low pressure system closer to the coast than we originally thought, which means more snow for us. Winter Storm Watches are already up for NYC and southern Connecticut. Boston could also get whacked by this storm.

Our best outlook would be 2-4" of fluffy powder. There's enough moisture and certainly enough cold air in place. The big question will be whether or not we'll see the precipitation lift high enough to the north to cover the streets with snow. Many aspects of this storm are not working in our favor (the timing, for example, is very bad), but we'll at least hold out the possibility of delays on Wednesday, especially for South County schools. It's all very unlikely, but there is a chance.

Good news for Boston.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekend Snow (Jan. 18-19)

Old Man Winter's January vacation looks like it's about to come to an end. We've had a few days in a row of light dustings, and Saturday looks to bring even more light snow to the area.

We should see 1 or 2" on the ground by the end of the night tomorrow. The snow will start after noon and will be very light. Because temps will be close to freezing, the snow will be more dense and of the wet variety.

After the brief snow on Saturday, we'll start to see the temps plummet in a manner that will remind you of the Jan. 2nd and 3rd freeze. It won't get that low because we don't have much of a snow pack in place, but we'll see highs in the low to mid teens for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Get out the face protection!

As for bona fide snow storms, we don't have much to be optimistic about. This cold wave will keep things dry. We might see a disturbance affect our region at the end of next week as the temperature starts to moderate but that's the best we can offer you at this point.

Enjoy the light snow tomorrow. We'll have more about the cold and potential storms at the end of the long weekend.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week of Jan. 13: Snoozefest

After our wham-bang start to 2014, Old Man Winter has decided to hand us heaping shovelfuls of nothing since Storm Brooklyn made her way to the Berkshires.

The rain came through in a big way on Saturday and fortunately did not lead to the treacherous travel we endured during a little field trip we took to Maine this past weekend. North of Portland the roads were harrowing as all that rain we got here turned into freezing rain there. Even with the temperature in the mid-40s, the rain was freezing on the roads and in parking lots. Skates were the preferred footwear to the Bean boots that 65% of the population wear up there Down East. [Despite their appeal, there may be no worse shoe on ice than Bean boots. Don't let those rubber "chains" on the bottom fool you--you might as well cut up a snow tube and adhere it to the bottom of your foot.]

We digress because we don't have much to report for this neck of the woods. We will see rain in the overnight Monday and during the day Tuesday, and then temperatures will start to edge lower into a more acceptable snow-producing level by the end of the week. We will have a few very weak disturbances come through our area starting as early as Wednesday night, but there is no light or even moderate storm coming our way for at least a week. We could see measurable snow showers on Friday and, more likely, Saturday, but we're only looking at enough snow to cover the ground.

If that weren't bad enough, our usually aggressive forecasting site Accuweather shows our next chance for wintery weather (ice) on February 3rd (!). We hope it doesn't come to that, but the mid and late part of January are certainly setting up to be very quiet.

Keep dreaming wintery thoughts so we have more positive news to report soon.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rainy Day Saturday (1/11)

It looks like we have a long day of rain and some wind ahead of us for Saturday. Not a lot of fun. We hope Berkshire county skiers can get their race in.

And we apologize for not giving anyone a heads up about the light snow this morning (Friday), but we knew it wasn't really going to amount to anything (even though Central Berkshire went with the two-hour delay).

There is a Freezing Rain Advisory in effect for tonight. Any freezing rain will develop around midnight but should be gone by the morning hours. Expect the showers to start overnight, and then steadier and heavier rain will fall in the afternoon and early evening on Saturday. We think that the rain will be finished by 11 PM on Saturday. Usually with a storm like this one, we see a sharp turn of the temperatures colder after the storm comes through, but that's not going to happen this time. Temps will be in the 30s Sunday, and it will be windy.

As for the rest of the week, we could see some snow Monday night that will change over to rain on Tuesday. The temperature will continue to drop as we move toward the weekend. We don't see any strong storms in the near future but are holding out hope for something significant the week of the 20th.

We'll have more about the Monday/Tuesday disturbance on Sunday.




Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Deep Freeze Delays for Tuesday

It's not as cold as it was last Friday, but the problem today is the severe wind chill. We have a Wind Chill Advisory in effect through Wednesday, and the result is that several school districts in New York have posted 2-hour delays.

We're unlikely to see delays from the cold (most NY schools were off from school last week) because Superintendents are tired of having their students miss time in the seats, but keep your ears open for a possible delay this morning.

No matter when you go out today, you'll want face protection from the wind. Frostbite can happen in a hurry.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Winter Weather Advisory for Sunday Night

The NWS is playing it very safe for us--and rightfully so--and it has issued a WWA for the Berkshires from 4 PM Sunday to 6 AM Monday.

Sleet and freezing accumulation will be light--no more than 2/10ths of an inch. Still, we know that even a tenth of an inch can make for unsafe travel. And because a lot of roads still have some leftover snow on them from the most recent storm, driving could be hazardous for a stretch of time this afternoon and Sunday night.

The temperature did not warm up as much as we thought it would today, which has resulted in this WWA.

We still think that the sleet and freezing rain will change to rain just after midnight, which will wash out the sleet by the morning commute. But we will bump up the True North Confidence Meter to 35% for a delay. Don't even think about it--a snow day is out of the question.

That orange there is headed in a northeasterly direction, making a bee-line for the Berkshires. Take it safe on the roads this evening.
FYI, Accuweather is calling for 3-6" for Thursday night's storm. We love the way Accuweather pumps up a storm, but this early call for a moderate snow fall is ambitious, to say the least.

Tonight's minor storm and Thursday's bear watching. We'll update later if we learn anything more about the sleet and freezing rain.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rain for Sunday/Monday

You know it's cold when the snow makes that squeaky crunch sound. And there was plenty of squeaking and crunching going on for the last 36 hours. Fortunately, we're starting to thaw out and temps will rise to a balmy 26 degrees today (Saturday) in northern Berkshire County. Conditions this afternoon will be perfect for a skate on the ponds, some ice fishing, and a little cross country ski racing. We hear there's a big race at Notchview this afternoon.

But what comes with the opportunity to head outside and frolic in the snow is, of course, the risk of injury. Snow is slippery, after all. Groin pulls, thrown-out backs, snowball-fight elbow are all common winter injuries. Should you get injured, you need to call your primary care physician who needs to call the good folks over at Williamstown Physical Therapy. They will get you back out in the snow in no time at all.

We've got a bad news/good news scenario shaping up for Monday. This storm will be mainly a rain event. For students, it's bad news because your alarm will be going off Monday morning and your lazy bones will be sitting in one of those hard desk chairs at 7:40 AM. O the injustice! For parents, it's great news that these idle loafers who have been eating you out of house and home are finally getting out of your hair for 7-9 hours each day.

Temps are going to shoot up on Sunday into the 40s. We might see a few minutes of sleet at the storm's onset on Sunday afternoon, but then it's just going to be plain Jane rain for our area through mid-morning on Monday. The temps will start to plummet from the 30s down to the single digits by Monday night. As this temperature free-fall is occurring, we'll see a few bursts of snow showers. We could get a dusting in the early afternoon on Monday.

The biggest danger on Monday will be ice. Once the temps start to drop, those puddles are going to freeze up. These frozen puddles could get covered up by the snow showers, making for sneaky dangerous situations. Should you fall and get injured, see above.

It looks like we have a full week of school coming our way. A light chance of a dusting Monday. Bone-chilling cold on Tuesday (single digit high temp). Maybe some light snow Thursday night, and then over the weekend we could have a mixed precipitation event. Our weather pattern sure is active, and we won't have to wait too long for our next major storm.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Brooklyn Exits...Another Storm For Sunday Night

The snow is finally winding down and all we're left with now is the coldest air we've seen in these here parts since January ought nine.

As for snow totals, the GSD Home Office in Williamstown picked up exactly 7" of snow, which makes the storm a bust on one level. To think that 7" of snow would be the cause of two whole snow days in unfathomable. We can thank the bitter cold, the Snowball Effect, and the general weather hype machine (yes, guilty as charged) for this most unlikely turn of events.

And a tip of the cap to Central Berkshire for holding out until this morning to make the call about a snow day. Let's hope Superintendents start to move back in that direction.

Temps will get into the negative teens tonight. Here's an idea for later: Don't go outside! Download a movie, play a family game, read a book, go to bed early. All are better options than frostbite.

The GSD Staff is going to enjoy a nice day off then we'll be back to work tomorrow with our expert analysis of Sunday night's wintry mix mess that is on the way. We'll see it all--snow, sleet, freezing rain, and even some plain old rain. It will start Sunday afternoon is almost assuredly going to affect Monday morning's commute in a signficant manner.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's a Double for Brooklyn!

Well, that happened fast. In the time it took for us to compose the last post, the Snowball Effect (see below) took place and just about every school in the county called off school. This is the first time in the long, illustrious history of GSD that school districts have called off school the night before TWO nights in a row. Brooklyn has assured her place in the pantheon of great storms.

If you had gambled on this storm two days ago, your $1 bet would have earned you five whole dollars.

There will be no late night report this evening.

Tonight's decision is certainly a study of social psychology. We certainly understand why city schools with lots of walkers would want to pull the plug on school given the cold temps and wind chill forecast. But we're not entirely sure why other Superintendents wouldn't want to wait until tomorrow to at least see how road crews will do with the (eventually) diminishing snow. Once two or three districts call school off, the night before, then what happens next is it makes the decision so much easier for the other Superintendents. If everyone calls school off except for one or two Superintendents, then guess who likes the bad guy or gal? And who wants to look like the bad guy or gal? Not your Superintendent.

So, a snow day tomorrow might not be the right decision at 5:30 AM, but it certainly became the "right" decision at 7:30 PM tonight. This is now case 1A in this new-ish snowday phenomenon officially known at the GSD Headquarters as the Snowball Effect.

Oh, one more thing. We have a messy wintry mix scheduled for Sunday night into Monday. Let's just call 2014 a wash and we'll start up classes again in 2015.

Brooklyn Early Evening Report

[SCHOOL CLOSINGS FOR FRIDAY: Adams-Cheshire, BCC, Lenox, Pittsfield, McCann, North Adams, Berkshire Hills, Lee, BaRT, MCLA, Williams, Mount Greylock]

Hello again, flake followers. We seem to be meeting here quite often the last few days.

Let's get right down to it...are we going to have school tomorrow or what?

Well, that question is already answered for--as of 7:45 PM on Thursday--North Adams, McCann, Lenox, Pittsfield, Adams-Cheshire, and BCC. For the second night in a row, the dominoes are starting to fall early. This early cancellation action bodes very well for those students who do not wish to see their kind, loving instructors tomorrow.

About an hour ago we just took the GSD Snow Wagon out for a spin for some field study and the roads are an absolute nightmare right now. The snow is simply frozen to the road, and the snow was also starting to freeze in the tread's of the trusty wagon's tires, making for some, shall we say, adventuresome driving. In fact we saw a car go right off the road while we were out there. This evidence is only anecdotal, but we'd imagine things aren't much better around the County.

According to meteorologists, the snow is supposed to last through the morning commute. Based on our study of the radar, we think they will be right. Heavier bands of snow will move into our area between 12 and 3 AM, and then we'll see light, residual snow and snow showers throughout the morning. If it is still snowing moderately around 5 AM, we'll definitely have a delay if not a snow day. We just don't see this storm suddenly speeding up and pulling the snow out of our area that quickly.

Here are a few more maps for your perusal:



If we do end up with 13 or 14 inches, then it's hard to believe we'll have school given the conditions of the roads and the deep freeze expected for tomorrow.

South County will be the bigger winner tonight in the County as the leading edge of the coastal low (that is pounding NY and CT and caused the closure of the NY Thruway) will creep far enough northward to bump up their snow totals.

At this point we feel 100% certain there will be a delay tomorrow, and because of the snow that is frozen to the road, we've upped our chances of a snow day to 80%. Crazy, crazy times indeed.

We'll update the closures list at the top of the page in blue as they come in this evening (when we hear about them).

Brooklyn's Second Phase Begins

The temperature is on the way down; the wind is beginning to pick up; the snow is starting again and will continue until morning. Welcome to winter, 2014 style.

Here's the latest radar (3:30 PM):


You can see there's A LOT of moisture still moving in our direction. All of the precip you see here is moving in a northeasterly direction. There are some heavier bands to our west on the NY/PA border that will just miss us to the north. But we like the looks of those heavier bands that are just over our nation's capital--those should pass directly over the Berkshires much later tonight.

The only concern with this map is that slot of drier air that extends southwest down into West Virginia (the breaks in the precipitation). That slot could hold our totals down, but it's also starting to fill in actively as the low pressure system off the coast of Virginia sends moisture our way. If we look at the radar in a few hours, we should see that drier slot filled in with blue, which means more snow for us. At no point should you worry about the green. There's no way we'll see rain until very early in the day on Monday.

As for tomorrow, we still are bullish on the delay prediction. A full-out cancellation is not out of the question, but we'll definitely see delays in Berkshire County tomorrow. We still should see a good 5-6 more inches of snow from Brooklyn before she finishes up her work tomorrow morning.

Brooklyn Midday Report

We hope everyone is enjoying this snow day. We need to emend our earlier claim about a "clean sweep" for the County on the snow day. We did not see Southern Berkshire or Berkshire Hills on the list and can only assume that they were not slated to head back to school until Monday. If not, we apologize for providing misinformation.

Right now we're seeing that lull that we talked about yesterday. The snow will shut off for a few hours before it ramps back up again this evening. The energy from the Ohio Valley storm is shifting to the coastal storm, which will push moisture over us this afternoon and tonight.

Here's the latest snow total map from our friends at Channel 13:


Higher elevations in the Berkshires should push 12", and our prediction for 9" should be about right for most of the county. The big question will be the ending point of the storm. We think it should be around 7 AM, which should yield many delays tomorrow morning.

Another major factor we haven't discussed that much is the bitter cold. The high temperature tomorrow should be a whopping 3 degrees. Tomorrow night we'll see negative teens for low temps. While most diesel-fueled buses should be able to start at 3 degrees, the cold could factor into Superintendents' decisions for a delay or snow/cold day tomorrow.

Look for the snow to pick up again between 2:00 and 3:00.

Storm Brooklyn Comes Through

Oh, Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in...

It's a clean sweep for the county, as everyone has extended the holiday vacation by a day. Very fine, light snow is falling in North County, with about an inch on the ground as of 5:45 AM.

The radar is looking pretty good right now:


The band of snow (we discussed yesterday) is moving toward the east-northeast, and there are several hundred miles of snow headed our way, as this storm extends all the way back to St. Louis. You do see that lull we've been talking about over western Pennsylvania, but that won't impact us until late morning.

As for tonight and the chances of a snow day tomorrow, we're still thinking that a delay is much more likely than a snow day. We'll have a better sense of the intensity and timing of the second part of the storm later today and will update everyone at that point.

In the meantime, kick back and enjoy this bonus day. The roads will be snow-covered so be careful if you head out. And if you do go sledding or skiing today, be sure to bundle up as it will be bitterly cold AND the wind is going to pick up.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Update: County School Cancellations Flurrying In

Good news, followers of the flake! In addition to Lenox, we have Lee and Pittsfield in the fold for a full snow day tomorrow. That's outstanding! Hopefully the domino effect will take place and these three schools will be our forerunners.

[9:39 Update: BCC has cancelled classes for tomorrow.]

[9:50 Update: The very lightest snow is now falling in North County. The snow is right on time, according to meteorologists, but we still do not like the radar picture at all. The snow is very light and is not filling in the way we'd like to see it. Much can change overnight, but we wonder if Lenox, Lee, and Pittsfield jumped the gun. Just sayin'.]

[10:35 Update: No school for Mt. Greylock tomorrow, as well as BART and Hancock. Vacation extended one more day! MG robocall will go out tomorrow morning.]

See the last few posts for actual storm details.


Storm Brooklyn: Late Night Update

We're getting some lifting of the snow from south to north as the moisture overspreads our area. Snow has crept into South Berkshire according to the radar, but the moisture is spotty to our west . Fortunately, the snow line is stalled (it might sound bad but it's good) and the south-to-north movement is what will determine our fate.

The snow is creeping northward but is not very heavy...yet.
We do have our first school cancellation for tomorrow. Lenox is on the board for a snow day. Perhaps this is for administrators only as Lenox students could be on vacation through Monday, but we hope not. Bold call, Lenox. Great work!

Despite the good news from South County, we're only going to bump our chance for a snow day up to 60%. The cold, the timing, the Winter Storm Warning, and the volume are all working in our favor. The radar and the lull we're supposed to get have prevented this storm from being a no-contest, slam-dunk snow day. We favor our chance at a release better than we do a snow day. We certainly hope we're wrong.

If there's an inch or more on the ground and the radar has filled in with more blue tomorrow morning, then we'll have a snow day. If the snowfall is just a dusting and the radar shows a longer lull for the morning hours, then prepare for school.

You'll need to check in tomorrow as a full day of school on Friday is in no way a done deal.





Winter Storm Warning For Storm Brooklyn

We weren't sure NOAA was going to pull the trigger, but they've gone ahead and greenlighted a Warning for our New Year storm.

While this information is encouraging--and we'll adjust our True North Confidence Meter accordingly--we still don't like some of the signs we're seeing. Again, the big issue with Brooklyn will be her early lack of punch. If she had a little shock-and-awe in her, we'd be 100% on our chance of a snow day. But because she'll be a slow starter, it's all going to come down to the Superintendent and whether or not he or she wants to put the buses out on the inevitably messy roads.

We also might have that dreaded dry patch for a few hours in the morning tomorrow. If that dry spell takes place between 5 AM and 6 AM when the big decisions are made, you'll be heading to the bus stop at your appointed hour.

Most meteorologists are predicting 1-3" on the ground by the morning commute. Let's hope it's more toward 3" and we'll be sitting pretty with another day of vacation. NOAA expects the greatest amount of snow to fall just to the north of I-90, which is great news for most of the county. NOAA thinks some areas could see 4" by daybreak, which would absolutely guarantee a snow day. But the radar at this hour is still not convincing, and the GSD Staff is expecting about an inch or so by morning daylight hours.

As for snow totals, the maps keep flip-flopping. We've seen a low of 3-6" and a high of 12-18". Channel 13 meteorologists, who we find generally reliable, have now put us back up in the 10+" range after lowering our totals to 7-10" this afternoon.

That's what we're talking about.

Not as attractive, but we hope were in the pocket.
We'll have one more update later. We're a little reluctant to make a call for the full snow day, but the chance for one is very real.

Storm Brooklyn Afternoon Update: Snow Pipeline Taking Shape

We still have some reservations about a full snow day for tomorrow. It's certainly possible, and even likely if this storm behaves the way it's supposed to, but we know how fickle storms can be.

Here's a recent radar shot:


That band of snow there is slowly moving due east and starting to grow in size. The warm moist air from the south is starting to spread over the bitterly cold air in place over the northeast. Even though this image doesn't show a massive storm, this relatively narrow swath of snow will track ever so slowly over our area, creating a west to east snow pipeline. As long as this pipeline stays in place--and it should because the frontal boundary that is holding this line of snow in place is stalled--we could see a foot of snow.

Our latest concern about this storm is that we could see a lull in the action from about 7 AM to 1 or 2 PM tomorrow. If the radar is not looking threatening at 5 AM tomorrow, we might only get an early release.

More to follow.

Handicapping the Scenarios

Brooklyn is on track and already pushing snow into southern and western New York as of noon on Wednesday. We may get a stray flurry or two in the Berkshires this afternoon, but we won't see sustained snow until much later tonight. Midnight--give or take an hour on either side--is when we're likely to see the real start to Storm Brooklyn.

We'd love to see this Weather Channel image come to fruition but it's a touch optimistic.

Because of the extended length of this storm, Brooklyn presents nine different scenarios over the next two days. [For those of us who have school. We know New York schools are off until Monday, and there are few districts in the Berkshires who also went with the two full weeks of vacation.] The royal flush of school-shortening snow events is the vaunted Triple, with an early release, followed by a snow day, followed by a delay. With Saturday in play for this storm, that's not possible, but we have some very appealing other options. Here are our initial odds for the following events:

Thurday/Friday

Delay/Delay -- 100,000 to 1
Delay/Snow Day -- 500 to 1
Delay/Release -- 100,000 to 1

Release/Delay -- 4 to 1
Release/Snow Day -- 8 to 1
Release/Release -- 1000 to 1

Snow Day/Delay -- 2 to 1
Snow Day/Snow Day -- 5 to 1
Snow Day/Release -- 1000 to 1

Remember that these odds are in relationship to each other. We're not certain we're getting a snow day on Thursday, although the odds do seem to be creeping up that we will. Again, the key piece of information the GSD Staff still needs is a radar image later this evening. Also, if NOAA decides to upgrade Brooklyn from a Watch to a Warning at some point this afternoon, then that will bump our snow day/release odds as well.

This sure is fun, isn't it?


Winter Storm Watch for Storm Brooklyn

Happy New Year, followers of the flake! The Winter Storm Watch was officially announced early this morning, which means the potential for over 9" of snow in a 24-hour period is a possibility. It's officially time to get excited about this storm.

Our best guess is that the snow will start tonight after midnight, so it should be snowing when the all-important phone calls start happening between Superintendents, bus companies, and road crew chiefs. The precipitation will be light throughout the day, and we should see the snow pick up in intensity Thursday afternoon and evening. It is also likely that the snow will continue to fall through Friday morning's commute.

What we like about this storm:

1. The high snow to liquid ratio. Because of the cold, we could see a ratio of 15 to 20 inches of snow for each inch of liquid. The current prediction for liquid precipitation is about 0.8 inches. No matter how you slice it, that's at least a foot of snow.

2. This observation from the Channel 6 (Albany) weather team:
It's important to note, that although accumulation rates appear will be slow through much of the event, meaning road crews should have an easy time keeping up with it, the fact that it will be so cold will mean melting agents will have a limited effectiveness. This means road surfaces are likely to be snow packed and unusually slick for a prolonged period of time from Wednesday night into Friday morning.
3. The timing. Early in the week the timing was looking shaky, but now we think it will cover two morning commutes.

What we don't like:

1. The intensity. We might not see any bands of moderate or heavy snow with this storm, which could allow road crews to manage the roads, despite what Channel 6 says.

2. The coastal low. The coastal low that will form for the second part of the storm will go out to sea. It will spread moisture over our area but more to our south than directly over us.

3. Forecast model exaggeration. Both the North American and the European models have consistently overshot the mark this winter (except on one occasion).

Will there be school tomorrow? You're not going to like this, but we're not sure yet. We'll need to take a good, hard look at the radar later in the day. Our gut instinct says we will have a better chance at an early release than a full snow day given the lightness of the snow. But with a forecast for snow all day that will only fall harder as the day progresses, it would be very easy for a superintendent to keep it safe and keep buses off the roads.

We'll have a more definitive prediction later this afternoon, along with a few more maps. Enjoy your New Year's Day!