Friday, February 28, 2014

Storm E Heading South

It's definitely going to snow on Monday, but it looks like the brunt of the storm will impact areas to our south. NYC, New Haven and Providence will be the big winners for this storm. 

Right now we see the storm beginning in the wee hours of Monday and as late as dawn for Northern Berkshire County. South County should see close to 6 inches; North County should see about 4 inches. Given the shift in timing of this storm (it's arriving late now), we think there will be a few cancellations south and nothing much happening up north (Pittsfield and up).

We still will be monitoring this storm closely. The amount of moisture predicted for our area is lower than yesterday so that's we suddenly are bearish on this storm. 

More tomorrow. Although we fundamentally do not condone such negative attitudes, we know a lot of people are not upset that this storm is heading south. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

More on the Storm-E Situation for Monday

It's a neck-and-neck battle between Elle and Eunice for the storm name. Just over 48 hours left to vote!

Gray skies and snow later today. Some parts of the Berkshires could see 3" but most will be in the 1" range.
Snow bands. 11 AM Radar (Thursday)
These snow bands are moving east-northeast and will impact us at some point today.

We have a wind chill advisory for the overnight hours tonight that will end at 9 AM Friday. Friday is setting up to be an uncomfortably cold day for this time of year (highs in the upper teens).

As for the big storm that approaches...

The timing of the storm is coming into clearer focus, and that timing will be a factor that works in our favor. The track of the storm--unfortunately--is very much up in the air. It looks like the bulk of the moisture is shifting to our south. We still could see 8" out of this storm, but the 12" band looks like it will kick Connecticut and Rhode Island right in the face.

Before you get too bummed out, two things to remember: 1) 8" is plenty of snow to cancel school, especially if the timing is right, which it will be. 2) Storm Charley (early March) faked weather prognosticators out and delivered much higher snow totals to the north. This storm and the Charley storm are similar in many ways.

We are not super-confident about a snow day Monday, but another day off from school is well within the realm of possibility. It's a 50/50 proposition at this stage in the developments.

We'll be blogging from Connecticut tomorrow as the GSD staff heads off to Nerd-Fest 2014, the annual Metereological Conference/Dance Party. We'll see what they have to say about Storm E down there.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Keep the High Boots Handy

No real new news on the Alberta clippers for today and Thursday. They'll produce nuisance snow before it gets very cold on Friday (highs in the teens).

Now for the next big thing...

Here's a model-produced map of forecasted snow totals through Tuesday (March 4) of the CONUS (Continental United States). The European model produced this estimate, and regular readers know that the Euro model has been the model of choice this winter.

Thanks to Henry Margusity at Accuweather for this map.
It's a little hard to read, but the burgundy/purple area over western Massachusetts indicates we will see a foot of snow by Tuesday. Are we looking at a double snow day scenario again? Will the winter of 13-14 be remembered for the year that Old Man Winter threw down a triple double?

We're definitely getting ahead of ourselves with this kind of questioning. While it's certainly possible that we'll see 8-12" of snow at some point between Sunday night and Tuesday morning, the many variables of this storm system could make it a big bust. We'll know everything we need to know by Saturday.

We do like the early indications we're getting from forecasting models and meteorologists, but we urge you to keep your excitement in check. And for those party-poopers out there who are, like, so done with winter--it looks like you'll have to suffer through another major event.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Clippers and a Looming Big Storm

Brace yourself, snow hounds. It seems we have another sizeable storm looming in the distance, which will impact our area Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning.

First, we have two clippers to contend with. We'll see at most 2" with each one of them. Both systems will affect the Berkshires during the day on Wednesday and then on Thursday.

Saturday now looks quiet--maybe a few flurries--but then it sounds like a big mess headed our way later in the day on Sunday. Here's a sneak peak at the storm for next week:

The low pressure system in this graphic is over eastern Tennessee. It would then shift to the east over the Delmarva peninsula and then bend northeastward. Yes, this storm has the potential to become a nor'easter.

Currently, models are in DATTATOTS mode so we're going to sit on this one for a few days. All models show us getting snow at some point between Sunday and Tuesday. We don't think it will be bigger than Delilah but road crews will definitely need to get back to work for this storm.

Just in case the nor'easter does develop, we're releasing the latest storm name poll. Voting will close on Saturday.

Snow, Snow and More Snow

Earlier this season, we predicted the back half of the winter of 2013-14 would be active, and that prediction is proving to be true.

Let's hope you're not sick of the snow as we have several more opportunities for measurable snow over the next six days. Several Alberta Clippers will sweep through the area. We will see snow flurries today (Tuesday), light snow Wednesday, and then an even more light snow for Thursday afternoon. None of these disturbances will produce delays, cancellations, or releases, but the snow will be in the air and will accumulate on the roads.

The pattern remains stormy through the weekend and into Monday. Forecast models show a possible minor storm for Saturday, but then Sunday night into Monday we could have another moderate storm (4-8"). That's the one we've got our eye on (see below). We'll wait a day or two to see how it develops, but we may need to get our fifth storm name poll up by the end of the week.

The big "L" will move east, strengthen off the coast, then move into our area Sunday night into Monday.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Snow Squall Sneak Attack

The lake effect snow today has been a little (okay, A LOT) more robust than we expected, and Berkshire County has been hit with several bands of light to even moderate snow.

We'll see an inch in many places when it starts to wrap up this evening. When the sun goes down, the winds will drop. When the winds drop, these snow bands coming from the northwest will start to dry up.

Playoff basketball games should not be effected tonight, unless school administrators are overly cautious (or someone's star player needs an extra day to heal an injury). Fans driving around Western Mass should allow themselves extra time for travel.

Intermittent snow for Monday afternoon and early evening (3 PM Monday radar).
We're still looking at a light snow event for Wednesday. Perhaps we'll see 3", but that's a high estimate. Two inches during the day will be the likely outcome. No releases or delays are expected.

Stay warm--it will be chilly for the next few days.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cold Snap Ahead

Been enjoying these few days of mild temperatures? We hope so because a very cold air mass is poised to ruin the spring mood you may have been feeling.

Temps will plummet from the 40s to the low to mid 20s on Monday. There will also be a not insignificant wind to deal with, which will make the return to school on Monday a double cold slap of reality. The cold air will stick around for awhile, and you have high temps in the teens on Thursday to look forward to. Good times!

When's it going to snow again? It looks like Wednesday presents our next best chance. We have a coastal storm developing, but it looks like it will be well to our south and will not affect our area in a significant way. We'll keep an eye on it, but a dusting is the best possible outcome.

Don't forget to get those writing contest submissions in! Remember to provide all the necessary information yourself and your school.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Winter Weather Advisory for Thursday Evening (Feb. 20)

Old Man Winter just won't quit.

After his sneak attack snow yesterday afternoon (most areas received 2-3"), OMW has some ice up his sleeve for tonight. The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory, which will start at 5 PM. We will see snow, then sleet, and then freezing rain this evening and then a changeover to a very hard downpour of ice-free rain. The rain will continue through tomorrow afternoon, and we could even hear a clap of thunder or two as temps really start to warm up.

Expect another 2" of snow. Travel will be dicey this evening. For those who have work or school tomorrow, the AM commute should be fine.

A couple of reminders:

*Clear off those roofs! The ice dam alert is very high because of tomorrow's rain.

*Enter the 2nd Annual GSD Writing Contest! The deadline for entries is approaching.

*Get your GSD sticker while supplies last!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snow Returns on Tuesday

Happy President's Day, snowhounds! Keep those boots and shovels handy as we have another round of moderate snow headed our way for Tuesday.

No need to sound the alarms for this one, but we could see up to 6" in the Berkshires by the time this two-part storm system passes through. We have an Alberta Clipper headed our way, which will produce snow as early as 6 AM Tuesday. As the AC passes through, another smaller low pressure system will form along the coast (near Long Island), and that low pressure will cause some lifting of moisture into our region during the day on Tuesday.

If school were in session, we would not have any delays, cancellations, or releases from this system. But travel on Tuesday will be messy, so take your time out there. We should see 1-2" from part A during the morning commute hours and 2-4" from part B from midday to the late afternoon. The consensus in the GSD office is for about 4" total for most of the Berkshires. We also think we could see Winter Weather Advisories posted this afternoon for tomorrow's snow event. We don't think school athletic contests will be affected Tuesday night, but there's a 25% chance they could be postponed.

From our friends at Accuweather.
The rest of the week will feature a warming trend. We could be in the low to mid 40s for five straight days starting on Wednesday. But the week after features a return to temps below freezing for highs.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Vacation Snow

We hope you enjoyed Delilah and the biggest snow of the season. We ended up with 14" at the home office of GSD.

No rest for the weary as we have another short blast of snow headed our way for Saturday night. Expect 1-3" for our area with higher amounts heading east. In Boston, where we're spending the first weekend of vacation (high level meteorogists symposium), we'll see 6+ inches of snow. Good times!

We also have our eye on a weather maker for Tuesday that could bring us 3 or 4 more inches of the white stuff. 

It's an active pattern so stay informed!

Storm Delilah: Special Valentine's Day Edition

Delilah ultimately did come through with her late night fury. The snow has been coming down moderately for a while now, and we should see snow for at least a few more hours (8 AM). Even after the main part of the storm ends, there will be periods of wraparound snow as Delilah exits our region. The other mitigating factor is the wind, which has picked up considerably, and the blowing and drifting of snow will complicate travel through midday.

There are good misses and there are bad misses. Fortunately, our hesitancy about the development of phase 2 resulted in a gain for all of you faithful followers of the flake. Almost all schools have called in with cancellations. Vacation begins right now! Here's this morning's running list; any updates from last night will be in red:

North Adams (closed)
Clarksburg (closed)
Florida (closed)
BArT (closed)
Hancock (closed)
Richmond (closed)
New Lebanon (closed)
Southwest Vermont SU (closed)
Central Berkshire (closed)
Pine Cobble (closed)
Pittsfield (closed)
Southern Berkshire (closed)
Lenox (closed)
Adams-Cheshire (closed)
Berkshire Country Day (closed)
Berkshire Hills (closed)
Mohawk Trail (closed)
Mt. Greylock (closed)
Gt. Barrington Rudolf Steiner (closed)
Lanesborough (closed)
Williamstown (closed)
McCann (closed)
Lee (closed)
BCC (closed)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Late Evening Report: Storm Delilah Day 2

We're going to weather-nerd you out for a second. Here's a quotation from NOAA:
What does NOAA mean, exactly, when it makes such a proclamation? In human terms, it means the experts think we're going to get socked this evening with heavy, heavy bands of snow. Three inches an hour.

Obviously, should their prognostications come through, everyone in Berkshire County will have delays and about half of the schools/districts will go with snow days.

Yet...we still think the heavy bands will veer to our west, but the latest radar shows heavy snow in northern New Jersey and edging our way ever so slightly:

We would love to see that heavy snow to our southwest filter in over us, but we're still not confident that it will make it. Another factor for you to consider: temps at the GSD Home Office right now (10 PM) are at 34 degrees. That means sleet, people. Sleet shouldn't last long--it will change over to snow--but a period of sleet in the Berks will keep snow totals down. Then again, sleet would compromise road crews' abilities to clear the roads effectively. The plot thickens.

We're still bearish on the back end of Storm Delilah. We're going to keep the True North Confidence Meter where it is for the night. Fortunately, if we're wrong, it will work in students' favor and students will begin their vacations early.

We'll be up early with updates as delays and cancellations come in.

Mid/Late Evening Report: Storm Delilah

Current delays/cancellations:

North Adams (snow day)
Clarksburg (snow day)
Florida, MA (snow day)
BArT (snow day)
Hancock (2 hr. delay)
Richmond (2 hr. delay)
New Lebanon, NY (2 hr. delay)

For the other schools...

The GSD Office is abuzz with excitement. This storm's narrative is thrilling. Delilah came early, delivered a nice blast of snow, fizzled out in a big way this afternoon and evening, and now it's setting up for a dramatic final act. Six to twelve more inches? The big goose egg? What's it going to be? Will students begin their vacations early or not? The tension is palpable! GSD Staff members are on edge.

But it's our job to quash the intense emotion and deliver the non-hyped reality of this storm. Earlier in the evening we assessed the radar and were underwhelmed. The DDS (dreaded dry slot) pushed into central and western New England and held totals down. A second dry slot appears to be moving into New Jersey.

Phase two was always going to be the big snow-maker for this storm, and that reality is now upon us. If we look at this radar picture (9 PM Thursday)...

...the precipitation is moving to the north and beginning to fill in the dry slot. The heavy rain right around NYC will overspread our area (as snow, not to worry) and bring us an addition 4-6" tonight around midnight. The question is whether that heavy snow band in eastern Pennsylvania will slide into our area and camp out for awhile. The models say it will, as do the meteorologists, but we're just a little concerned that the super heavy stuff will stay to our west. Lucky them.

The bottom line is that at this point Delilah is a crazy woman--we just don't know what she's going to do next. Our best guess is that she'll generate another 4-6 more inches of snow, and she might keep the snow going for the morning commute. Should she do that, we'll see more delays and a few more cancellations.

The midnight radar will tell us more, but very few of our flake followers will be up that late. We'll give one more update in an hour or so (11:00) before calling it a night. At this point we'll adjust the True North Confidence Meter in a more positive direction. We still do not feel great about the end of this storm working out in our favor.

Breaking News For Delilah

See below for specific info...

It's not even 7 PM and we have our first cancellation for Friday! North Adams has called for an early start to the vacation. Our guess is the North Adams superintendent took a beating today from students, parents and faculty about being one of the "only" schools in the county to have school today--even though he made the right call! Tonight's early call (no doubt an outlier) is in response to the pressure he unfairly received today.

While we feel for the North Adams superintendent and what he went through today, we do NOT condone this trend of cancelling school the night before. Perhaps he had other reasons, but we don't like this decision one bit.

Begrudgingly, we'll start the running tally of delays and cancellations:

North Adams (snow day)
Clarksburg (snow day)
Florida, MA (snow day)

What's the Prognosis for Delilah?

A brief timeout from Delilah...

There's a really fun side effect with the notable storms in the southeast that have shut down school for days at a time. A whole new community has been introduced to the snow day, and it looks like school administrators in those parts are having a whole lot more fun with cancellations than the good folks that run schools around here.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

We really hope NOT to spur on a Harvard Baseball team/"Call Me Baby" imitate-athon, but we wouldn't mind hearing a few administrators step up their game.

As for this little thing we have going on called Storm Delilah...

On the meteorology campus that is home to the GSD Office, we have a slightly disappointing 5" of snow as of 5 PM Thursday. We thought there would be more than that by now. But the professionals are still calling for the storm to deepen considerably and another 6-10 inches with heavy snow bands should fall around midnight.

We're skeptical that we'll see that much in the Berkshires. The dreaded dry slot has weakened Delilah considerably. And unless we see significant frontogenesis and bombogenesis from the back end of the storm (phase 2), all the good boys and girls of the Berkshires will have an opportunity tomorrow to wish their teachers and administrators well before they head out for February break.

We're bearish on phase 2's development into a heavy snow event. As a result, we will see some delays, but most students will have to go to school tomorrow.

We're definitely NOT giving up on Delilah yet and will monitor the radar and incoming data throughout the evening hours.

Channel 13...doing its best to keep hope alive.

Dry Slot to Bring Totals Down

You probably noticed that the snow has almost stopped. What has happened is a dry slot has worked its way into storm Delilah and interrupted her progress. This does not bode well for you greedy types out there who want another extended vacation (see Storm Brooklyn).

But don't forget that we have phase 2 to look forward to. We've been studying the radar, and phase 2 is coming, but it may not be as organized and explosive as we were hoping. There's still plenty of time for it to develop to the anticipated heavy snow bands, but 15 to 20" may be out of the question for Delilah.

4 PM radar
The moisture is still lifting almost due north. The bottom part of the storm (all that moisture in Virginia) is enhancing and drawing in moisture from the Atlantic. An energy system in Ohio is in the process of transferring itself to the coastal low, which will bump up the intensity. The snow should continue to fill in the dry slot throughout the night, but we might see the big bands of snow shift more to our north.

Delays are possible tomorrow; a full snow day seems less likely because the storm is losing some of its tight formation.

What to Expect When You're Expecting Delilah

One of our witty followers posted the following query: "Hey there Delilah, what's it like there in New York City?"

Funny you should ask, anonymous follower/Plain White T's fan. Right now (11 AM), there's a big surge of snow pow(d)ering through NYC, Long Island, and the bottom half of the Nutmeg State. If you have any errands you need to do, get them done in the next 90 minutes as the snow will pick up significantly when this first wave pushes through.

The dark blue represents snow coming down at 1-2" per hour. And it's heading due north right for us.
We'll see a lull in the storm (but it won't stop snowing) around dusk. Then, between 9 PM and 3 AM we'll see part two of the heavy snow. Some snow bands from round 2 will add 3" of snow per hour. That's about as heavy as it gets for these parts. And those very heavy snow bands will determine whether or not we have a delay or full snow day tomorrow.

A foot of snow is likely when Delilah goes her merry way to the Canadian Maritimes.

Storm Delilah Arrives Early

Here's the current list of releases and cancellations. We'll highlight in red any changes to the decisions made by Superintendents last night.

North Adams (release)
Pittsfield (release)
Adams-Cheshire (release)
BArT (release)
So. Berkshire (closed)
Central Berkshire (closed)
Berkshire Hills (closed)
Pine Cobble (release)
Clarksburg (release)
Berkshire Country Day (closed)
Mt. Greylock (closed)
Williamstown (closed)
Lanesborough (closed)
Lenox (closed)
Lee (closed)
McCann (closed)
Hancock (closed)
Mohawk Trail (closed)
Southwest VT SU (closed)

We'll be frank. With the early arrival of the snow and a band of moderate snow not too far from Berkshire County, we think the early release schools may want to reconsider their decisions.

Here's the current radar picture (5:40 AM):

The snow right around NYC is moderate. That snow should get to the Berkshires within a few hours. A lot of times with these storms we have a high pressure system in place over Quebec that blocks the storm from advancing too quickly. That's not the case this time around, which is why the snow has moved into the Berks more quickly than we had anticipated. Students heading home at noon will need to be very careful on the roads.

We'll have more about the storm and its impact on Friday's school day later today.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thursday Late Evening Report: Storm Delilah

Back in the old days, the GSD Late Evening Report was the final word on the snow day. You could read GSD and go to bed, and more often than not you'd know what you would be reading across the scroll on your favorite morning news program.

Not now. Superintendents for some reason are feeling compelled to let people know the night before. While we appreciate the convenience of such news, we admit it does take some fun out of the morning surprise of a snow day or delay announcement. Alas, another era gone by.

The mix of snow days and releases tomorrow makes a lot of sense. The South County schools have for the most part called in cancellations. The northern schools are holding out. It definitely could be a little dicey for those return trips home at or around noon, but it might not be too bad. Superintendents' collective fingers crossed.

Thanks, Bob.
If you have school tomorrow, make sure you check here or elsewhere to see if your district has changed its mind. The only changes we might see are releases becoming full snow days. We'll be on top of it so you can check here to get what you need.

Here's the 10:15 PM Thursday radar:

That is a bee-you-tiful sight. The storm is really starting to crank up, and that wall of blue will overspread our area by 9:00 AM. It's around 250 miles away. Hopefully it will be light at the onset for those students who have to go to school for a partial day tomorrow.

Once we get through tomorrow morning, the fun really begins. There will be a strong surge of snow in the afternoon of Thursday, then after midnight we could see even more intense snow fall rates (3" per hour). We'll obviously be tracking those developments and offer a prediction for the Friday school day at some point tomorrow night. No school-related events will happen tomorrow night, and we think we'll see many school delays on Friday.

If you're still up, get your rest! We'll be on the case early tomorrow to see if any districts go with the upgrade. We'll start tweaking the True North Confidence Meter tomorrow (for Friday).

1st Storm Delilah Announcements

See below for forecast info...

We have our first weather-related announcements of the evening. North Adams, Pittsfield and Adams-Cheshire have announced early releases for tomorrow. Those could change to full snow days in the morning if the rest of the county goes with snow days.

The running tally (updates throughout the night):

North Adams (release)
Pittsfield (release)
Adams-Cheshire (release)
BArT (release)
So. Berkshire (closed)
Central Berkshire (closed)
Berkshire Hills (closed)
Pine Cobble (release)
Clarksburg (release)
Berkshire Country Day (closed)
Mt. Greylock (11:45 release)
Williamstown (release)
Lanesborough (release)
Lenox (closed)
Lee (closed)
McCann (closed)
Hancock (closed)
Mohawk Trail (closed)

Not too many schools are left; do check tomorrow to see if your district upgrades the release to a full snow day. The snow line is in southern Pennsylvania and New Jersey as of 9 PM. 

Begin Hatch-Battening for Delilah

Firstly, you must promise to belt this song out when your Superintendent decides to cancel school. [Man, they sure don't make them like they used to. BTW: Who is 2014's Tom Jones? Post a comment with suggestions. And it's not Biebs. If you suggest Biebs, it won't get published.]

Here's some good news: NWS just bumped our Winter Storm Warning from 8-14" up to 10-20". And then there's this map:

You should be cautious not to take national weather service providers' maps too literally, but we like the looks of that dark purple very close to the Berkshires. A 15" storm could shut schools down for two days.

We're still very much concerned about the timing of the storm. Most school districts are going to do things the old-fashioned way (or at least they ought to) and make the call tomorrow morning. So it's going to be up to the radar to bring us a snow day or not. If by 5 AM the snow line has made its way into Connecticut, then we'll have a snow day. If that line is stuck back in New Jersey, then schools might opt to tough it out and go for the release. Either way, the school day will be shortened. As of 4 PM Wednesday, the snow line was 500 miles away. Come on, snow line! You can do it!

We're not convinced the storm will start as early as the models are indicating. We now think 10 AM is a more realistic start time. Superintendents will ask themselves: Is it reckless to have students and buses driving at noon tomorrow? Probably, but we really won't know until tomorrow morning.

We'll have a few more tidbits for you around 10 PM tonight.

Storm Delilah Is Heading Our Way

Hat tip to the faithful followers of the flake for selecting "Delilah" for this storm's name. Well done.

Everything is still on track for a big snow storm for Thursday into Friday. Right now we're only going to focus on Thursday as we will need to see how the low develops and the track it ultimately decides to take.

So, for Thursday, we think snow will start as early as 8 AM. We'll have a better sense of the start time once we see the radar tonight. While we're at it, here's a good look at the current radar (noon, Wednesday):

That mess there over the Southeast is gradually lifting to the north and east. Once the center of the low pressure reaches the coast, it will push right up along the coast and develop into a very typical nor'easter. The difference between 8" of snow in the Berkshires and 14" will all depend on the track. Should the storm track slightly farther east (as the North American models are suggesting), we'll have lower snow totals. Should the storm hug the coast (as the Euro model suggests), we'll hit a foot of snow.

The snow will come down at a rate of 1-2" of an hour during the middle of the day, most likely in the 12 to 4 PM time slot. This is the main reason why we think it would be prudent for school administrators to have students go home early or have them stay home altogether.

[A point of clarification on the predictions for releases, delays, and snow days. Each outcome (release, delay, or full day off) is judged independently. So, 100% confidence for a release and 80% confidence for a snow day do not mean we think there will be a release and not a snow day. It just means that a release is guaranteed while a snow day is not. Should we move the snow day Confidence Meter to 100% later today, we would then move the release Confidence Meter to 0%, as it is very hard to have a release when you are sitting at home chomping on the bonbons.]

We had been hearing some talk of "blizzard watches." While it will snow hard enough for a blizzard, we don't think the wind will be strong enough (sustained winds of 35+ mph for a period of at least 3 hours).

Courtesy of New England Cable News.
The only big adjustment we might make tonight has to do with the timing. If the storm starts earlier, snow days will be virtually guaranteed. While we won't be surprised if a few districts call in the snow day tonight, most Superintendents will wait for the morning to see if there are any developments overnight.

This storm certainly has enough energy and precipitation to impact the length of the school day both Thursday and Friday.

Winter Storm Warning for Thursday/Friday

Nothing too much new to report except for the NWS is now convinced it will snow hard tomorrow. At 5:39 AM today (Wednesday), it went ahead and upgraded our Watch to a Warning.

The time window is still 7:00 AM Thursday to 10:00 AM Friday. This announcement is warning us about 8 to 14" of snow, with snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour during the day. Those predicted conditions will certainly make it easy for Superintendents to call the day off.

Thanks, Channel 6 Albany.

More later this morning...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Storm Watch for Thursday & Friday

As expected, the NWS issued a WSW for all of the Berkshires. The Watch begins at 7 AM Thursday and ends at 10 AM on Friday. This doesn't mean it will start snowing at 7; more than likely the snow will start between 8 and 9, which certainly puts pressure on Supers to make the anticipatory snow day call. That's never easy. 

We'll have maps and other fun stuff tomorrow!


Snow Day for Thursday?

Storm That Starts With D is proving to be a moving target. Our latest intel, courtesy of one of our GSD Satellite Offices, suggests we might be looking at a Thursday snow day.

Here is one meteorologist's guess at the timing of the storm:

Fig. A

If figure A proves to be accurate, and we consider figure B (see below)...

Fig. B
...then we find it hard to believe that Superintendents will send defenseless little school children into the teeth of a predicted blizzard. If the phrase "Blizzard Watch" gets uttered by the National Weather Service in the next 24 hours--and that possibility is not out of the question--then a school cancellation is almost a certainty if the storm is projected to start shortly after the morning commute on Thursday.

This is one wild storm, and we've only scratched the surface of it. Things will change over the next 24-hours, but we want you to be prepared either way should it deliver a mighty blow to the region or hustle on out to sea.

Current prediction: Release on Thursday; Delay on Friday.

Major Storm Shaping Up

We don't want to go into hyperventilation mode just yet, but if you had plans to do anything Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, you may need to call an audible.

Take a look at this latest prediction:

Batten down the hatches.
That right there's the imprint of a major nor'easter. The big question for the snow total will be if it's a storm that pushes moisture up and over a front (like we had last week). Or, will the storm create a cyclone effect (that lovely counter-clockwise swirl that draws moisture in from the Atlantic) and in doing so become a nor'easter.

We'll need more information (track and timing, the usual), but we're starting to get concerned that we have a major storm headed our way. And by "major" we mean the biggest snow event of the 2013-14 season.

Should the scenario presented in the Accuweather map occur, we're looking at possible early releases on Thursday and school cancellations on Friday.

Expect to see a Winter Storm Watch later today. And don't forget to vote for this storm's name. Looks like we'll be needing it after all.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Improving News For End of Week Storm

If we said, "Hey, we're going to get 4" of snow Thursday afternoon." Your reaction might be, "That's nice, GSD, but it doesn't sound like it's going to affect school." And we'd say, "You're absolutely right."

But if we said, "There's a possible major winter storm for Thursday afternoon into the evening with 4-8" of snow predicted. There's a chance it could grow to 8-12" and last into the early morning hours on Friday." You'd probably say, "Sounds like delays or a snow day to me!" And then we'd say, "Yes, there's a really good chance so keep checking in."

Those are the scenarios we're dealing with right now. They're encouraging--especially the second one--but we do not like the timing at all. The Euro model continues to predict a moderate to heavy snow storm. The best news we heard all day was that recent runs of the North American models are starting to bring their storm predictions more in line with the Euro. Now that's what we're talking about.

At this point the best case scenario would be an early release Thursday with a full snow day on Friday. Extended vacation part two! The worst case scenario is the 4" snow Thursday afternoon that road crews easily handle before the Friday commute. Fine. Whatever.

We could live with this outcome.
The reality is there's no pressing need for this snow day with one day off just last week and a vacation right around the corner. But, then again, why not another one? No matter when they happen, snow days are fun.

Our early prediction is 4-6" in the afternoon and evening of the 13th with delays for Valentine's Day.

Don't forget to vote for this storm's name, which we can always use later if this storm turns out to be a bust.

Uncertainties Abound for Thursday's Storm (Feb. 13)

If the weather predicting models suddenly transformed into behemoth Bay-esque robots, we would have the showdowns of all showdowns heading toward this Thursday's snow event.

We have three models with which we concern ourselves (so that you don't have to concern yourselves). Just in case you were wondering, there's the GFS, the NAM, and ECMWF. The first two are North American, the third is European.

The buzz is that the North American models are pushing the storm east and away from us. Coastal New England could get some snow while we in the mountains would end up with bubkis. But the European model has the storm tracking much farther to the west, which would result in a hefty snow storm.

Thanks, Accuweather.

The good news from all of this computer-driven wrangling is that the European model has been an All-Star performer this winter in terms of its accuracy. This trend continues one we've seen for the midwinter period the last few years.

Yes, we are only 72 hours away from this storm's arrival, but, no, we do not have one shred of a positive vibe about this storm. Storm Charley was a meteorological open net goal--we were ready to call a snow day on the Saturday before that storm. This storm is a different animal; we don't even have a clear sense of its timing yet let alone how much precipitation will fall (and what kind).

We'll go ahead and risk jinxing it and offer up our fourth name poll of the season. The polling period will end at noon on Wednesday.

Much work ahead for this storm for the GSD Staff; we'll have more tonight after we check in with a few more reliable sources. The situation is very tenuous, so don't even count on a delay or release for Thursday's storm.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Light Snow This Afternoon (Sunday Feb. 9)

The "best case scenario" we mentioned yesterday will be our likely outcome this afternoon. Expect the light snow to kick in around 4 PM. The storm is an Alberta Clipper (fast mover) with some lifting of precipitation from the Atlantic. It's not a coastal storm, but we'll see the moisture with this storm expand over our area as it moves through this evening. We should top out around 3". Unfortunately, the snow will finish up before midnight, which means not even any delays tomorrow. But who's really going to complain about more snow?

Thanks, Accuweather.
As for the rest of the week...

The GSD Staff has its collective big ear to the ground and we're hearing rumblings about a late week storm. The models are not in agreement at all, but one model has us getting a full-scale nor'easter. What's more likely to happen is a period of unsettled weather starting on Thursday afternoon and going into Friday. We'll have a period of light or moderate snow and then the snow will switch to rain. Certainly delays will be the main point of discussion as we head toward Valentine's Day. So much more to come about that storm.

Your chance to get one is coming soon...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Unsettled Weather Ahead

We had genuine excitement in the GSD Office earlier this past week not only because of Storm Charley but also because of a possible heavy snow event for Sunday into Monday.

Unfortunately, the big storm predicted for Monday is not going to happen. There were two energy levels that were supposed to come together like two lovers on Valentine's Day and form a big coastal storm, but now we'll only see a long distance relationship.

What we will see instead is a good chance at snow showers and even accumulating light snow on Sunday. At worst we'll see just a few snow showers that will dust the streets. Best case scenario is about 2" of light powder, which will not in any way affect the Monday morning commute. Still, there is a high degree of uncertainty about this storm so you shouldn't sleep on it just yet.

As we head towards a glorious mid-winter break, we could be dealing with a mess on Thursday and/or Friday. Temperatures will rise. We could see a snow-to-rain-and-back-to-snow event that will start as early as late Wednesday night and end on Friday. Again, snow totals will be light with this storm and should not affect the length of the school day either Thursday or Friday. If Superintendents do have to make a call, a delay is really the only likely outcome.

Don't forget to make the time
to craft your winter rhymes.

A nice chunk of cash goes to the best
poem entered in the GSD Writing Contest.

(We know you can do much better than these feeble lines. Good luck, and check in tomorrow should we have any developments with the snow forecast.)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Storm Charley Not Quite Finished Yet

[Enter the 2014 GSD Writing Contest! Here are the details.]

Storm Charley has dropped about 7" on the GSD Home Office so far, and we think she has another inch or two left in her.

Exhibit A:

This a shot of the radar as of 7 PM Wednesday. The big blue blob is moving due east, so we should see at least 2 more hours of snow, some of which could be moderate. Since most things were cancelled today, you probably don't have a pressing need to drive around the Berkshires. Should you decide to go out, travel at your own peril as roads will be messy.

I know some of you greedier types want a delay from Charley tomorrow--that's not going to happen.

After Charley sweeps on out of the Northeast, we have our eye on a potential storm for Sunday night into Monday. The models could not have been more in agreement for Charley; with our Sunday/Monday storm, the models could not be further apart in their predictions. One has us getting a major storm; the other takes the storm out to sea.

While we don't favor the prediction of a major storm for Monday, we do think the potential exists for a moderate (2-5") snowfall for Monday. So much depends on how certain patterns in the jet stream will affect the energy of this storm, which is only just starting to take shape in the Pacific Northwest. There are too many variables at this time for even a semi-accurate prediction.

Winter isn't going anywhere for at least a week. The highest temp we'll see is 26 degrees on Sunday, and then our next shot at the 30 degree mark is on Valentine's Eve (Thursday). Lows will be around zero most nights for the next week.

As always, we'll be keeping you up to date on the Sunday/Monday situation over the next few days. And there are only 7 more school days until vacation.

2014 GSD Writing Contest

It's back! The 2014 GSD Writing Contest, sponsored by True North Financial Services. Last year we had over 50 submissions, and we handed out cold, hard cash to the contest winners Kendylle Hutton, Kelsey Hebert and Merrie Benjamin.

Here are this year's rules:

*20-30 lines of rhyming verse
*The words "Greylock Snow Day" must appear in your poem
*The poem must celebrate winter, snow, snow days, etc.
*At the bottom of your poem, please write your full name, address, school and grade, and telephone number
*all poems must be typed and on one side of one 8.5x11" sheet of paper

That's it! Write a ballad, make an ode, create a lyric--the poem's form is up to you. Make us laugh, inspire us, move us--the GSD Staff is easy to please on many levels. And, yes, bonus points for those who attempt a regular meter! (Remember that it was Robert Frost who said about writing free verse poetry: "I'd just as soon play tennis with the net down.") If you don't know what meter is, ask your teacher.

The Grand Prize winner will receive $300. Two runners-up will receive $100 each, courtesy of True North. The contest is open to students in grades Kindergarten through 12th Grade.

We're going to give you February vacation to work on your poem, but submissions must be postmarked by Sunday, February 23rd. And, yes, we're going old school with submissions. No email submissions this year. Submissions must be mailed to:

Greylock Snow Day
c/o Dils
228 Cold Spring Rd
Williamstown, MA 01267

Don't forget to write your name, address, school and grade, and phone number at the bottom of your poem so we can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Latest on Storm Charley

Everything is still on track for tonight's storm. We've been updating the cancellations as they have come in:


As for storm details, here's what you want to know:

*Sleet may push farther north than had been anticipated. We could sleet in the late morning in South County.
*The storm start should be around 2 AM.
*NOAA is expecting the Berkshires to see up to 6" on the roads by the morning commute.
*The storm will be a fast mover; the heaviest snow bands will be through our area by 2 PM, and then it we'll experience light snow and snow showers the rest of the way until 6 PM or so.
*The entire county should see at least 7" of snow, with more in higher elevations and in North County.

Here's a shot of the radar around 9:30 PM:

The snow is getting closer, and the green blob south of the nation's capital is starting to grow in size. That piece of precipitation will continue to expand and push up the coast, overspreading lots o' moisture over the nice cold air already in place. And that's why we're supposed to see a foot of snow in some spots.

Enjoy the day off tomorrow, everybody!

Maps Galore!

You want consensus? Here's your consensus.

Weather Channel
Channel 6 (CBS) Albany
Channel 13 (NBC) Albany
Channel 22 (NBC) Springfield
We shouldn't have to state the obvious, but Channel 22 in Springfield really needs to step up its game when it comes to the snow graphic. In terms of aesthetics, we like the Weather Channel's transition from teal to lilac to purple to eggplant.

We think these graphics speak for themselves. Go catch a movie tonight. Get caught up on your reading. Don't even bother with the alarm. But get those back muscles limbered up as this snow will be heavy and less fun to shovel around.

We'll try to update you as it happens if/when schools make the decision this afternoon or tonight to cancel for tomorrow.

Winter Storm Warning for Storm Charley

At 3:45 AM Tuesday, the National Weather Service upgraded our storm from a Watch to a Warning. In addition, projected snow totals have been raised for the Berkshires. We are now expected to see 8-12", with some locations in higher elevations nearing 15".

We're hearing great things about "isentropic lift" and "frontogenesis." Translation: boatloads of snow.

Here's a nice map, courtesy of New England Cable News.
We think the snow is going to start later than 1:30 AM. If you were to set your alarm for 3 AM tonight (and we're not entirely sure why you'd want to do that), you would see the first flakes of storm Charley. We expect heavy snow during the morning commute tomorrow and through the morning hours. The snow will taper in the afternoon and end around 6 PM.

We were critical of Superintendents for calling in the snow day the night before during the Jan. 2-3 storm, but the body of evidence supporting this storm suggests that Superintendents should--with clear consciences--call in their snow days tonight. Tomorrow's travel will range from unpleasant to treacherous as road crews will not have time to keep up with the storm in the initial 6-8 hours of the storm.

Make sure you bring your work home that you will need for any Thursday assignments.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Storm Charley Looms

Here's the only new information we have to report:

*Precipitation expectations have risen. We may see closer to an inch of liquid, rather than the half inch forecasters were leaning toward.

*Snow will kick in around 1:30 AM tomorrow night.

*Sleet is back in the discussion toward the end of the storm, especially for South County.

*Temps will be in the low 20s, ensuring an all snow event through midday.

So, given all the good news, we will see widespread snow days for the Northeast on Wednesday.

The only thing holding us back from a 100% Confidence Meter rating is the attitude of some of the old guard in the GSD Office. They've been reminding the young analysts (with all their "bells and whistles and newfangled computer programs") that the storm hasn't even really formed yet, and the low--now over New Mexico--has a really long way to go until it will reform and impact our area. It's easy to pooh-pooh their Yankee "we'll believe it when we see it" skepticism with all the great forecasting model agreement, but we should at least begrudgingly respect their veteran, conservative opinions.

We quote the GSD Old Guard: "See the green and blue in the lower left corner? That's our big storm. Not very impressive, is it?"
But don't let those old guys get you too worried. Most of the GSD Office thinks Charley is shaping up to be a slam dunk no-brainer.

There are two questions out there we can't wait to be answered: 1) When will NOAA upgrade our Watch to a Warning? 2) Which will be the first superintendent to call the snow day in the night before?

Check in tomorrow with more maps, more predictions, and more updates.

We quote the GSD Young Analysts: "Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Old Guys!"

Winter Storm Watch For Wednesday

It's much earlier than normal (a very good sign), but NOAA has already issued a Winter Storm Watch beginning at midnight Tuesday night and ending at 6 PM Wednesday.

We don't have much new news for Storm Charley (it's official), but everything is still on track. A threat of a changeover to mixed precipitation after noon on Wednesday is still a possibility, especially in South Berkshire County. The GSD Staff is in agreement that we'll see about 8" of snow from this event. At the very least we're looking at 5 or 6", which is still plenty to cancel school given the timing of this storm. Tuesday night events and activities will not be cancelled, as the storm will not start until 1 AM or so.

Be on the lookout for snow showers and even steadier snow in the South County. There's a nice swath of snow moving east-north-east to our south. This snow is not at all related to Storm Charley, but if we get an inch in SoCo, that could help delay any changeover to sleet/mixed precip on Wednesday. Still, at that point, the superintendent's decision will already have been made so it really doesn't matter that much if and when the changeover occurs.

We like this storm A LOT. We should start to see local forecasters snow total graphics this evening. We'll pass those on when we can.

Storm Charley is going to make hump day a snow day.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Snow Day for Wednesday?

Secure your valuables. Stock up on supplies. Make sure you know the whereabouts of your children and pets. Yes, we have a major winter storm headed our way for Wednesday!

This storm won't be a Snowmageddon or a Snowpocalypse, but all indications are telling us that we're in for a major snow event. 

If the models prove to be accurate--and we haven't seen such good early agreement from the models in several years--we are looking at a 6-10" storm for Wednesday. The best part of this storm from an "I really need a snow day" perspective is the timing. It is predicted to start shortly after midnight on Tuesday. Even if the storm speeds up by four hours or slows down by four hours, we are still well within the optimal time zone for school cancellation.

The forecasters see about three-quarters of an inch of liquid precipitation with this storm. The last time we discussed liquid-to-snow rations we were talking about exceptionally high ratios (15:1 and 20:1) because of the extreme cold. Because this storm will be warmer (high 20s, low 30s), we'll see ratios more along the lines of 10 or 12 to 1, which should give us about 8 inches of snow.

We have been hearing that the temperature will be lower than forecasters thought a few days ago, so there's now less of a risk for a changeover to mixed precipitation. If this storm stays as an all snow event and we get the predicted 1 inch of liquid, we will see those 8 inches of snow between the hours of 12 AM and 12 PM on Wednesday.

But--you knew this wouldn't be that easy--here's a note from GSD Staff member Debbie Downer:

Before you start making your plans for your day off on Wednesday, consider the following: 1) sometimes a thing really is too good to be true; 2) in general we have more busts than spot-on predictions; 3) we still have 57 hours to go; 4) the amount of predicted liquid is down from a few days ago.

We're not sure how much more information we'll be able to squeeze out and pass on to you in the next 36 hours (given the agreement of the computer models), but early Tuesday we'll start to get a good look at the radar and we'll know if this storm will deliver a wimpy jab or hard uppercut to the region.

(And, by the way, you may have to dig out again on Saturday or Sunday. Forewarned is forearmed.)