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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Delays for March's Last Day

Right on cue, Central Berkshire called in its third 2-hour delay in less than two weeks early this morning.

The bulk of the frozen precipitation is falling in mid-County and South County. A few schools in New York have called in delays, but we don't expect to see too many more announced this morning.

The list:

CENTRAL BERKSHIRE -- 2-hour delay

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Winter Weather Advisory for Monday 3-31

It's been a week since we've had update you about winter weather headed our way, but we have a serious chance of delays tomorrow morning as the rain storm we're experiencing today will change to sleet and freezing rain (and possibly snow) overnight, making tomorrow's commute messy.

Widespread Advisories.

The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of the Berkshires until 11 AM tomorrow. You should definitely be alert tomorrow morning to the possibility of delays. Higher elevation communities will receive more ice than the rest of us, so Central Berkshire and Adams-Cheshire have a better chance than the rest of us. Central Berkshire benefitted from their elevation last Friday with the 2-hour delay.

Driving today (Sunday) shouldn't be an issue, but it will get icy after midnight.

We'll update later if events warrant it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Snow Likely on Tuesday (3/25)

Here's a look the Euro model from this big coastal storm you may have heard about:

This picture suggests a major snowfall for the Cape and Boston from Tuesday into Wednesday, but just light snow for us. The Euro model gives us about two tenths of an inch of liquid precip, which will yield us about 2 or 3" of snow. We've had anywhere from 1-4" of snow forecasted for our area for the last three disturbances, but none of them have yielded more than a coating. As a result, we don't think we'll see more than an inch on Tuesday.

The timing for snow in our area from this major storm is Tuesday afternoon into night. A dusting is the low amount we'll see; South County could see up to 4" if the Euro model pans out.

We'll be monitoring this event carefully should the track move more to the north (unlikely).

The good news is that the high temperature will be 27 on Monday but gradually moving up all the way to the mid 50s by the weekend.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wintry Mix Mess

Spring has sprung,
The grass has riz
I wonder where the birdies is.

Perhaps the grass is thinking about starting to rise in places, but it sure doesn't look like it out there. Perhaps the daffodils are starting to pop through the grass in your yard, but certainly not at the GSD Home Office. Last year at this time we were well on our way to enjoying the great outdoors on a regular basis.

So, given how things have been going this winter, you will not be surprised to learn that we have another 1-2" of sleet and snow on the way for tonight. Driving tonight between 9 and 12 could be unpleasant, so make your plans accordingly. Eventually, it will all turn over to rain in the morning as (we think) temps will reach the mid-40s by the middle of the day.

As for next week, we have our eye on a potential snowstorm for the middle of the work. Confidence isn't great right now, but there are enough ingredients in the mix to potentially get this storm to snow day level.

All together now: "You've got be kidding me!"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday Delay(s)

The steady precipitation has almost moved out of the Berkshires, but the County has its first delay of the day. It may be our only delay, but we'll keep a running tally any way.

CENTRAL BERKSHIRE (2-hour Delay)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Winter Weather Advisory (3/19-20) Update

Expect off and on rain, sleet and snow tonight into tomorrow morning. The radar shows that it will not be sustained enough to make the roads too dangerous, but it will be slick in spots in the overnight hours, especially side roads.

Here's the best we can do for forecast maps:

Thanks, Channel 6 Albany.
Looks like the hill towns to the North will have the most snow to contend with. The precipitation will be light, so plan on setting that alarm tomorrow morning.

(See our Writing Contest winners below.)

2014 Writing Contest Winners!

Thank you to all of the 2014 Writing Contest entrants! We had an incredible range of poems to choose from, ranging from the gothic and eerie to the innocent and joyous. Greylock Snow Day and True North Financial Services are very proud to announce that this year's winner of the Grand Prize of $300 is Andrew Whitaker, a junior at Mt. Greylock Regional, whose light-hearted and lively verse captured the humor and spirit of GSD the best. Here 'tis:

"Ode to the GSD Wizard"by Andrew Whitaker 
The crystals fall through winter air
Covering sidewalks, coating roads,
And Berkshire students everywhere
Look to the place that surely knows. 
Within his Greylock Snow Day lair
The winter wizard quickly types
Collecting newscasts, maps, and prayers
To judge if conditions are right. 
The students are obsessed with snow,
They dance strange dances, storms have names.
The wizard's always right, they know.
The truth is what he has to say. 
His accuracy is astounding;
Snowy globes and crystal balls.
Each prediction has a firm grounding
His website is viewed by all. 
He often, with stunning precision,
Looks ahead for future storms,
And risky students make decisions
To skip homework, well informed. 
Now hope that you were not misled.
The robot calls around 6:10.
Refresh your phones and stay in bed;
Check Greylock Snow Day yet again.

We're also very pleased to hand out Second Place awards ($100 each) to sophomore Noah Savage of Mt. Greylock Regional, and fifth-grader Isabel Thompson of Williamstown Elementary School. Congratulations!


Winter Weather Advisory for Wednesday Night into Thursday

The NWS has decided to warn us about the messy weather headed our way, and it issued a WWA for the Berkshires for tonight. This advisory will last until 10 AM Thursday, which puts delay scenarios into the mix, as we indicated earlier.

Keep your eyes on the skies tonight while the GSD Staff focus on the radar and the timing. We'll have more later if we see the chance of the delay going up.

The 5:30 PM radar. The dry slot should stay to our west. The moisture extending down to DC is headed our way.

Winter Fights On...Delays for 3/20?

Old Man Winter clearly put in the work in the off-season because that man is going deep into March this year and ready to make a post-season run. What strength, what resolve, what stamina. He's been a prime-time player this year.

It's late March and we have two snow-friendly events to alert you about. First, tonight (Wednesday) we could see 1-3" of sleet and snow. Winter Weather Advisories have been posted in counties to our north. Tomorrow morning's commute for the Berkshires could be dicey, so we advise you to check your local weather source (!!) in the morning to see if there are any delays. The GSD Staff is mostly confident we won't have any late starts to the school day, but we are not ruling out the possibility.

Then on Saturday we'll see another system move in. This one is less of a certainty, but there's enough moisture associated with it to bring us 2-4" of wet snow. We haven't gotten a very good read on the timing of the changeover to all snow, but we will let you know more as soon as we can.

With daytime temps rising above freezing for the next few days, it will take some time for either of these storms to create accumulating snow on the roadways.

Neither of these storms is hype-worthy, but they are doing their part to make sure we don't see snow-free yards and fields until early April.

The Old Man has left his mark. Courtesy of Nate Silver's new and improved FiveThirtyEight (check it out! it's outstanding!).



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yes, It Will Stop Snowing

Storm Elle must have taken our disparaging comments about her personally, as she is holding on tooth and nail in the Berkshires.

The storm center is pulling out to sea off the coast of Maine, but we're stuck in the snow-making engine that sometimes results from the back end of these coastal storms. Cold air is streaming in from the north (it is 11 degrees out there), and there's still enough moisture around to generate these quasi-lake effect snows. The snow is very light, but we're stuck in it for a few more hours.

Eventually, the main energy of the storm will pull far enough away to shut off the snow-producing machine.

Temps will warm-up significantly tomorrow, but not before we come close to breaking the all-time low temperature for Pi Day.

The weekend looks good--sun and above freezing temps--but we expect another cool down on Monday, which is the start of the Spring sports season!

Storm Elle: Thursday Morning Report

Roads are snow covered in Northern Berkshire county. The wind is still howling, but beginning to die down. Any snow we see this morning will be irregular and brief as the last remnants of the storm move out.

We are seeing schools around Berkshire County go with 2-hour delays (New Lebanon, Brunswick and Hoosic Falls in NY), but as of 5:30, no schools in the Berkshires have opted for the delay. We'll keep a list going here should any schools decide to go with delays.

Mt. Anthony (delay)
Williams College (delay until 10 AM)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stick a Fork In Her

As the intro used to say for The Six Million Dollar Man, "She's backing up! She's breaking up!" Elle has come apart at the seams, and we do not have the technology to fix her.

Here's the 9:45 PM radar:


Everything is moving in a northeast direction. We might see a few intermittent snow showers overnight, but we'll be lucky to get an inch.

Be careful out there tomorrow morning in your driveways and on walkways, as the sharp drop in temperatures has flash frozen all of the rain and the snow will be covering up those icy spots. Tread very carefully if have to walk on fresh snow tomorrow.

Side roads will be icy (they're icy right now) but crews should have enough time to manage them overnight. Do allow yourself a few extra minutes to get where you need to go tomorrow morning. And wear a hat--it's going to be unpleasantly cold and windy.

We'll be very surprised if Berkshire County sees any delays tomorrow.

The good news (for some) is that we have our eye on another weathermaker for next Thursday, so we might have to do this all over again. The winter that keeps on giving!

The Disintegration of Storm Elle

Here's your 7 PM radar. You might avert our eyes, though, as it's a grim picture.


All of the precipitation is moving in an east-north-east direction, except for that patch over Ohio, W. Virginia, and Kentucky, which is oddly heading south-south-east. The line of green/yellow is a decent band of thunderstorms.

The only snow we'll see is that darker blue patch over western New York. That thick band of snow is certainly capable of brushing over us and dropping 2-3" of snow. But that's it.

We hope we're wrong, but we're just about ready to throw in the towel for this storm. We'll have one more update later tonight, but it will most likely be brief and negative. We wish we had more to offer you.

Storm Elle: Afternoon Update

The Winter Weather Advisory is still in effect with this storm, but our confidence is starting to shrink about any kind of delay scenario for Thursday.

GSD never gives up hope, but....

Temps have risen to 40 degrees (as of 2 PM Wed.), which means it will take that much longer to see the rain/sleet/snow progression. Our best bet to finally see snow is after dark.

Meanwhile, we've studied the radar and a lot of the energy from the southern piece of the storm (that part over S. Carolina in this morning's radar picture) has transferred to the Ohio Valley piece of the storm. What this has done is push much of the heavy rain/snow to our north, which is why the ADKs are getting pounded right now.

The southern piece of the storm is not very well organized, so, despite the predictions of 4-8 inches of snow for North County, we think it will be more like 1-3". A few very strong bands could come through later tonight and completely blow up this low forecast, but our analysis of the radar images just isn't inspiring any confidence.

We'll see what we can do to improve our fortunes, but no breath-holding out there. Prepare for a full day of school tomorrow (Thursday). But it will be very cold and windy.

From our lo-tech friends at Ch. 22 in Springfield. We assume "C" means "coating."
We'll provide an update later tonight; hopefully, we'll have better news.

Elle Arrives Early: Temperature Watch Begins

While you were sleeping, Storm Elle snuck into the Berkshires slightly ahead of schedule, bringing light rain to the northern half of the Berkshires around 4:30 AM. Also, the National Weather Service dropped our Winter Storm Watch and made it a Winter Weather Advisory for the entire county. They're calling for 2-4" south and 4-6" north for tonight into tomorrow. A few schools to our North have called off school or called early releases but nothing (and rightfully so) for schools in Berkshire County.

We'll see very light rain for the next few hours, then a let up, then the fun begins for real around midday. Here's the latest radar picture (6 AM Wed.):


As attractive as the blue blob to the west is, our main focus is the green blob over South Carolina. That's the piece of energy that will bring us our wintry weather this evening.

The key to today will be watching the temperature. As soon as it gets below freezing, the sleet and snow will begin. It's 34 at the GSD Home Office as of 6 AM, and we think we'll get below freezing at some point after noon, probably around 1 or 2 PM, which could make for a slow drive home from school this afternoon. The evening commute will be even more unpleasant.

We'll let you know if anything changes!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mercurial Elle: Tuesday Evening Update

Confidence is still low that this storm will affect the length of the school day tomorrow, but the latest intel we've picked up is moving in a slightly better direction and suggests Northern Berkshire County could pick up a half a foot of snow and sleet by the time the storm ends on Thursday.

As of 8 PM (tonight), it is very balmy 47 degrees, which doesn't exactly translate to winter weather. This warm air will hang on tomorrow until about noon, which is why the storm will start out as plain Jane rain. Expect the liquid precipitation to start falling between 7 and 9 AM.

8 PM radar (Tuesday). That rain is inching slowly eastward. The snow over Iowa is eventually going to reach us.
As the day progresses, though, we'll see the rain gradually become sleet, then the sleet will become snow around sundown. The storm will intensify all night and then finally settle down a few hours after midnight. The strong wind will be with us through midday on Thursday, but the heavy bands of snow will not be present in the Thursday morning commute hours. But we will see intermittent light snow showers as late as 10 AM on Thursday.

So...here's what the GSD Staff is thinking:

*No releases tomorrow (Wednesday). The ride home could be a little slick, but Superintendents will likely ask students and staff members to stick it out. After school activities and meetings could be cancelled.

*Right now (we'll update this info tomorrow once we see the radar) snow totals will range from 2-3 inches in South County and as much as 7"in very Northern Berkshire County. Delays on Thursday are on the radar.

Just a mess.
Here's the bottom line: No one should take Storm Elle for granted (mostly because of the ice), yet no one should be surprised if we see all rain and only an inch of slush.

As we have tried to make clear in earlier posts, these late winter storms are very, very unpredictable.

Complications for Storm Elle

Here's the latest discouraging snow map from our friends over at WNYT:

Meh.
The timing of the storm is also working against us, as the hardest precipitation will hit the Berkshires around 6 PM on Wednesday. And the storm is a fast-mover, which means we won't see many snow bursts last into the day on Thursday.

But before you give up hope for Elle, you might consider this map:

Courtesy of Channel 6 Albany
If ice is part of this storm, then all bets are off for Thursday. A quarter of an inch of ice is not something we should dismiss, as there could be many power outages from the combination of icing and heavy winds (predicted for Wednesday night late and into early Thursday).

So...let's everyone stay on guard. We do think we'll get through a full school day tomorrow. Some Supers could be goaded into calling for the early release, especially if we see indications that the storm will take a more southerly track, but that scenario is unlikely.

A delay on Thursday is something the GSD Staff will discuss intently during the day and early evening tomorrow.

Storm Elle: More Rain Than Snow

Ah, the fickle March snow storm...

Our most recent round of data-gathering has led us to this conclusion: school will be in session for Wednesday and Thursday. Northern Berkshire County is still under a Winter Storm Watch, but the Watch for South County has been lifted. Not a good sign at all. It appears too much warm air will work into our area to make Elle a blockbuster.

The Adirondacks, though, will be the big winners.

The Berkshires are not completely out of harm's way, as we could still get up to 6" of snow with lots of sleet mixed in during the day on Wednesday. Enough warm air should be in place to change the sleet to rain at the time when school buses will be returning boys and girls to their homes. Some school districts in North County might opt for the early release, but that will have to be a game day call, as they say, in the early morning hours Wednesday. Rain will change back to snow Wednesday night. Realistically, we'll see 2-4" of snow.

We still haven't given up hope on this storm. If the storm center does start to move south at all, we'll have much more snow and a delay or full snow day is then possible for Thursday. But to reiterate, we're not feeling much love for Elle at this stage in the proceedings.

More details later...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Storm Elle: 36 Hours Away

Sadly, a sizable portion of our readership has had it up to here (enough already!) with the snow and are actively rooting against Storm Elle. We understand your position, but in no way do we support it.

It is our sworn duty to always, always root for a snow day. Any snow day is a good snow day, even if that means the slow erosion of our April vacations. Some day many years from now, when GSD is a Thunderstorm prediction site, we'll look back wistfully on winters such as this one, so there is no way we'll ever not get excited about a snow day.

So let's get excited, shall we? We do have a major storm heading our way. The apex of the storm will be sometime early Wednesday evening. How long the run-up and the backside of this storm will last will determine whether we have full snow days, releases, or delays. At this point in the forecast, we think this storm will affect school in some fashion both Wednesday and Thursday for some districts.

But the models are still very much in disagreement. The North American model, which did well with the last storm, takes the storm further to the north, which is bad. The historically more reliable Euro (at least it has been this winter) takes the storm further south, which is encouraging. But even the last few runs of the Euro model have bumped the storm's center farther north (but not as far north as the North American model). [This info has been updated.]

What makes this storm dicey is just how warm the air to the south is. If we get on the wrong side of the storm, then we'll see all rain and temps well into the 40s. Unfortunately, an all rain event is indeed a possibility. But...if the storm center doesn't push that far north, we could get pummelled...as in 15 inches of wet, heavy snow.

There is a lot of liquid with this storm. If it's cold enough for snow, we'll see at least 6" of snow.

We don't have much more to tell you. The GSD Staff is still very hesitant to embrace Elle fully. The unpredictability is giving us the willies, and we really don't want to get your hopes up. Even if some rain and sleet work their way into the Berkshires, we still could see 6-12", with 6" in South County and 12" up North.

We still like our earlier prediction of a release on Wednesday and a moderate chance at a delay on Thursday. Any activities Wednesday evening will almost assuredly be cancelled.

We'll have much more tomorrow about the exact start of the storm as well as snow total predictions. Yee-haw! It's going to be a fun 48 hours.

Our first local graphic for Storm Elle--thanks, Channel 6 Albany. Not Very encouraging, though, is it?

Winter Storm Watch for Wednesday (Already)

Introducing...Storm Elle! At 4:27 AM on Monday, the NWS announced a Winter Storm Watch for Wednesday, which will start early in the day and last until early Thursday. The GSD Staff originally thought the brunt of her would hit on Thursday, but now Wednesday is big day in question this week.

Essentially, we have a nor'easter heading our way for the day on Wednesday. The biggest concern we have about this storm is its timing. It should start early enough in the day on Wednesday to cause Superintendents to call in snow days, but their decisions will have to be based on faith that the forecasts will be correct.

The liquid forecasted for this storm should also be sufficient for a snow day. Meteorologists are expecting 9 or more inches of snow within a 24-hour period, which precipitated (zing!) the relatively early Watch announcement.

Here's a lovely looking map:


Right now the GSD conventional wisdom on this storm is that we'll get 6-8" that will start out as very wet snow and then become gradually drier. When it starts snowing, we will be around the freezing point--by the end of the storm on Thursday we'll be down in the teens. And there will be much blowing and drifting of snow on Thursday, which means there's a chance--maybe even a distinct possibility--that we will have the unprecedented, coveted "triple double"--the back-to-back snow day for the third time this season!

More thoughts, one good and one bad. We like the early call of the Watch. That means models are in agreement, and we'll almost assuredly see the Watch upgraded to the Warning as early as tonight (but most likely on Wednesday). Now the bad: March storms are fickle creatures. Historically, they are much harder to predict accurately.

There will much more to say about Storm Elle in the next 48 hours. Things are, however, trending in the right direction for the snow day hounds out there.




Saturday, March 8, 2014

Midweek Storm Is a Possibility

The GSD Staff's collective eyeballs are glued to a developing storm for Wednesday night into Thursday morning. We may yet get to use "Storm Elle" this winter.

We're not super excited at this point for the chance of a snow storm. Certainly, the potential exists for measurable and plowable snow, but the computer models are all over the place with this storm and starting to move in a negative direction. One run of the Euro model has a powerful storm affecting our area. The North American models are predicting a much lighter disturbance (it's hard to call 1-2" a "storm"). All models are starting to move the precipitation farther south.

Here's a graphic, but don't read too much into it:

An optimistic look at next week's storm.
We'll re-employ the True North Confidence Meter for Thursday, but we're much more confident the storm will be a bust than a blockbuster.

We'll be announcing the 2nd Annual GSD/True North Writing Contest winners next week!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Quiet Pattern Takes Over

Here's some shocking news we just discovered today. You lose an hour of sleep this weekend! That's right, it's Daylight Savings Time again. You need to roll that clock ahead one hour on Saturday night. Did you know that hospitals often see a rise in  heart attacks in the first few days of DST? We wonder if the clock change couldn't be done in a more incremental way.

We do have a chance of a few snow showers on Wednesday evening; a dusting is about all you can expect from this very minor disturbance.

Temps will begin to moderate toward the end of the week, and we may even hit 40 degrees by the weekend (Saturday).

After that, though, the GSD Staff Members have their eyes open to a midweek storm (March 11-12). The Euro model has us getting some form of precipitation; the North American model takes the storm out to sea south of us (similar to Monday's storm).

We wait with bated breath to see if Storm Elle comes to fruition.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

No Snow, But Cold

Despite the near miss this weekend, Old Man Winter will still very much be a part of our lives for the next week.

Part of the reason the storm stayed to the south is the big high pressure system currently in place over us that will bring the temps down to single digits tonight. Brrr.

Highs Monday will be in the teens. By the end of the week (Friday) we should see temps rise above freezing during the day, which will hopefully get those maple trees pumping that good ol' Berkshire sap.

We do have half an eye on a possible stormy development for Friday, but the latest models do not bring the storm into New England. We'll monitor it closely.

This winter definitely has at least one big storm left in it. Enjoy Oscar Sunday!

As we head into a new week, here's what could have been:

Only missed us by a few hundred miles.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Going, Going, Gone

Sorry, snow lovers, but we will not have a snow day on Monday. The storm does not have the moisture we thought it might have, nor is it tracking far enough to the north. 

You can't win them all. At least April vacation is still going to happen. 

Any snow we do see will fall on Sunday during the afternoon and evening hours. 

We're having a few technical difficulties with the True North Confidence Meter, but we will be sorting those out as soon as we get back from Nerdfest 2014 (great time, by the way!) and get to the home office of GSD. We will be lowering the chance of a snow day to zero.