Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

One our staff members has a New Year's tradition that is supposed to bring good fortune and prosperity to you for the upcoming year.

In his words:
My grandmother always told us to put money onto the front porch before we went to bed on New Year's Eve. In our pajamas we would dig around for spare change around the house and then wrap up the money in tinfoil and put it out on the steps. It was important that each person make his own little packet of money. 
We encourage you to follow this tradition to increase your fortune, but we'd also like you to do a special GSD twist on the tradition. Alongside your bundle of change, please put an ice cube in tinfoil so we can have winter weather good luck for the upcoming year. This will ensure the snowiest January on record for sure.

As for a weather forecast, here's what you can expect through the first weekend of the new year:

Cold weather will persist but we'll see a slight warmup in the temps starting tomorrow, the first day of 2015. We could see a few snow showers on Friday. Then, Saturday night we could see several inches of snow before the precipitation turns over to rain. The storm is going to disappointingly track to our west, but we're pleased to report that the initial burst of precipitation will be all snow and it could be substantial. Unfortunately, the snow window looks like it's going to be from midnight to 4 AM (Saturday into Sunday) so we really won't even be able to go out and play in it. Driving conditions could be messy on Sunday morning. The snow will change to light rain for Sunday, and we will be back up into the mid 40s on Sunday.

We'll see more snow than mixed precipitation with this storm. Thanks to Accuweather for the graphic.
After Sunday, we could see an Alberta Clipper scoot through our area Monday night into Tuesday. Alberta Clippers rarely bring lots of snow. We don't expect more than an inch or two with this small storm.

The good news is that the cold air will be firmly in place next week, setting up the possibility for all snow events down the road. We'll have to wait and see.

Happy New Year! Keep working on those song parodies for the True North/GSD Writing Contest. We'll report more about Saturday's storm should any new information spring up.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Dry Spell Continues; Snow for the Weekend?

**Don't forget that the GSD/True North Writing Contest is on-going. The deadline is Sunday. Send us those song parodies! You don't have to sing them--just get us your new GSD-flavored lyrics and we'll take care of that for you. Good luck!**

The US weather map has had a bizarre look to it these days. The cold in the middle of the country is no surprise, but the dry and--until today--warm air in the Northeast just didn't feel right. What also probably doesn't feel right is snow in southern California and in Las Vegas. Absurd.

We demand some normalcy from Old Man Winter for the start of the new year.

We may not have to wait too long in 2015 for our first snowfall. There will be a storm this weekend at some point on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, the forecast models are in disagreement. Our beloved European model does give us a low pressure system to our south and east that will ride up the coast. Unfortunately, it's predicting that there will not be a lot of moisture with it. An inch or two of snow would be a best case scenario. The North American model pushes the storm to our west but raises the amount of moisture. If the storm chooses this track, we will see mixed precip and then all rain.

Also, as of today (Monday), we see do not have enough information about any storms that will impact the Berkshires when we get back to school on the 5th.

Having no snow right now is bad, but nearly as bad as the traffic pile-ups will be when those SoCal types try to drive in snow. Best of luck to them!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Holidays, Snow Lovers -- Don't Forget the Writing Contest!

The GSD Staff wishes everyone a very merry and happy holiday break. We hope you have time to spend quality time together with family and friends without the pressure of work/school hanging over you.

Don't forget to work on your holiday song parodies! The GSD/True North Writing Contest deadline is on January 4th at midnight. Remember, you don't have to perform your GSD holiday song re-write. Just send your rewritten lyrics to 228 Cold Spring Road in Williamstown, MA (care of GSD). If your song is chosen as the winner, we'll find someone who can actually sing to perform you're new version for all the world to see.

As for weather that might impact Berkshire County, we have zip a dee doo dah to report for the region at the moment. It's fairly nutty to think that we had more snow for Thanksgiving than we do right now, but that's how it is in this mixed up meteorological world of 2014-15.

Colder temps are on the way. Thanks to Accuweather for the image.
This mild weather is disconcerting--maybe global warming is having an effect on New England after all--but we think temperatures will moderate to more seasonable levels by Tuesday (December 30). Once we get back to more seasonable temperatures, the likelihood for a major snow storm increases significantly.

Unfortunately, the jet stream is not working in our favor. We might see a few snow showers on Sunday in advance of the drop in temps. After the cold slips back into the region, we're eyeing Wednesday, January 7th as our next legitimate chance for a school-shortening snow event. Even that storm is not very encouraging.

Boy is it grim on the ol' weather forecasting front, but at least the sun came out for a few minutes today. And we may see even more of the sun over the next week. At least there's that.

We'll chime in soon as soon as we have something newsworthy to report. Until then, get cracking on those song parodies!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Small Chance for Mixed Precipitation Tonight

The big rain storm heading our way is just off to the south. Earlier today we said we'd provide an update, so here it is:

The likelihood of an extended period of snow and sleet and freezing rain tonight which leads to a delayed opening is looking less likely. The temperature right now is at 35 degrees at the GSD Home Office and it is only supposed to go up. There might be a little frozen material in the first drops that fall from this storm, but the shift to rain should occur quickly.

This is not to say you shouldn't at least check conditions in the morning. When mixed precip is in the forecast, you can never make any assumptions.

Green isn't good. This mess below us is moving in a NNE direction.

Eyes Open for Mixed Precip

Greetings, flake followers. It looks like we have a little messiness to contend with this evening and into tomorrow. Enough cold air will be in place for light snow, sleet, and possibly even freezing rain for this fast-approaching storm. Delays are possible for tomorrow morning but not all districts will see delays.

The window of opportunity is a good one for this storm. The mixed bag of precipitation--snow, sleet and rain--will start after midnight and carry into the morning commute. It will all change over to rain eventually, and then it may not stop raining until Wednesday night.

We'll have more info later today.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday Forecast

Mr. Sun made a brief appearance yesterday, but it's back to hibernation for him as we have an unsettled week filled with--sadly--mostly rain. We might see the sun again on Friday.

For today, Sunday, we'll see light snow drizzle and possible bursts of more steady snow during the day today. Accumulations will be under a half an inch if it snows at all.

Monday night we might see mixed precipitation. We'd love it if it somehow extended into Tuesday morning's commute but that chance is remote as the temperature will be steadily rising.

Starting Tuesday, we will see rain, and during the day on Wednesday (Christmas Eve) we could see heavy rain and high winds. Temps might approach 50 in some parts around here! This is all because the low pressure system is going to to track up the coast and to our west. We wrote during the last storm how we always want or storms to track to our east because the counterclockwise rotation of the storm pulls that good cold air over us and turns the precipitation to snow. When storms track to our west, we end up on the warm side of the storm.

As we wrote in an earlier post, there's a small chance that we will see snow on December 25 as the back end of the Wednesday storm wraps cold air into the Berkshires and sets up intermittent snow shower possibilities. These snow showers will more likely occur in the afternoon than in the morning. We do not encourage breath-holding for a white Christmas.

We may see Winter Weather Advisories for tomorrow night because of the threat of ice. We'll have more info about that development tomorrow. Enjoy the short week!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Light Snow for Thursday AM

The white stuff has returned--albeit for a brief time--and most of Berkshire County is enjoying a beautifying half inch covering this morning. Unfortunately, the roads are too warm for it to stick, although some slush could accumulate in places so take heed as you make your way out onto those highways and bi-ways.

The snow won't last this morning, but snow showers could persist all the way until the early afternoon hours. It'll make things look nice out there, but we're not going to see any delays or early releases. [UPDATE: Hoosick Falls and Berlin (NY) have phoned in 2-hour delays, but nothing for Berkshire County schools as of 7 AM.]

As for upcoming storms, we have only bad news. Our Sunday storm has decided to take a most unkindly southerly track, and we might see just a little light snow in the middle of the day (no more than an inch). As for next week and the chances of white Christmas, things are looking none too good. We might have a big rainstorm on Wednesday and then a chance of snow showers on the back end of that storm as it heads out on Thursday (similar to what's happening right now).

We don't like it one bit but that's what we're seeing on the storm front.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week of December 15: Ho Ho Ho Hum

First, two bits of news:

1. You can now access Greylock Snow Day by typing into your browser.

2. The GSD/True North Writing Contest is in full swing and we've already had our first entry! Yes! Keep them coming!

As for breaking winter weather news, we don't have much for you to get excited about. Temps will be in the mid-30s for most of the week. Expect some rain showers Tuesday night into Wednesday with a slight chance of sleet or freezing rain in the higher terrain of Berkshire County. This rain-causing disturbance will scoot on out of here on Thursday, leaving behind a chance of snow showers as the temperatures drop below freezing.

We do have the trusty weather future-scope focused on a Sunday coastal storm. A few of the models are predicting a low pressure system to form off the mid-Atlantic coast in the early hours of Sunday. This storm would bring snow to the Northeast. There is a chance we could see an impact on the school day Monday should the storm develop to its full potential.

We will post again when we have more substantive info about this possible Sunday/Monday storm.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015 GSD/True North Writing Contest

Here it is, gang. The much anticipated Greylock Snow Day Writing Contest for 2015. Students grades K through 12 are eligible. Grand Prize winners take home an amazing $300. Two Runners Up will each earn themselves $100. We're not talking savings bonds or lottery tickets or funds that have to be used expressly for school expenses. That's straight cash, homies.

Here's what we've cooked up for you this year:

Take a popular and favorite holiday song ("Let It Snow"; "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"; "Silent Night"; "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"; etc.) and rewrite the lyrics (at least one full verse and chorus), making it all about Greylock Snow Day, snow days in general, delays, early releases, snow storms, etc. There are only two rules: 1) you have to mention Greylock Snow Day (or GSD) once; 2) it has to be clever! Feel free to collaborate--we will accept joint entries.

For example:

Jingle Bells!
Jingle Bells!
Jingle all the way...


GSD don't lie!...

Our example qualifies for rule 1 but for rule 2, we're not so sure. Plus, there's some bad grammar going on there--what's up with that?. We know our faithful readers can do much better!


There are two ways to submit your entry this year. 1) You can write out your lyrics and email them to 2) Or--and we would prefer this method--you can make a YouTube video of your song and email the link to Whatever method you choose, make sure that in your email you include the following info:

School and Grade
Mailing Address


The deadline for entries is Sunday, January 4th--that gives you all vacation to work on your entry! Get to it!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

More December Wintery Gifts?

Even though Moonracer did not deliver a major snow storm, it did give us arguably one of the prettiest, story-book snows you will ever see. With just enough stickiness to coat every surface thoroughly, the few inches we received last evening did wonders to brighten the holiday mood. Bring on the egg nog and the gingerbread cookies!

So, what's next on the docket? Besides the announcement of GSD Writing Contest #3--details to be announced this weekend!--we do have our eye on a little disturbance for the middle of next week. Some models are hinting at yet another Tuesday/Wednesday storm (all three storms this season have started on Tuesdays). We shall see.

As for the weekend, we may actually see the sun on Saturday. It will be that big yellow round thing that looks a lot like the moon, only much, much brighter. And as tempting as it might be--don't look at it.

Temps should be in the mid-30s to high 20s for the next week or so. The temperature is starting to nose downward. The next time we might see the mid 40s could be in March.

Enjoy the relatively quiet end of the work week!

We've Come Full Circle

This is it, folks. Today's the last day (more or less) of Storm Moonracer's three-day engagement with the Northeast states of the CONUS and Berkshire County

We felt the initial storm surge from the south back on Tuesday. Then, moisture started to pour in from the east and northeast. Yesterday the snow came in from the north and west, and this morning the radar shows a few patches of snow showers moving toward us from the south. That what's happens when the low pressure sits directly on top of you.

We should see snow showers throughout the day, especially this morning from south to north as light snow bands move through Berkshire County. Perhaps another half in is possible.

As for delays this morning, again we are seeing several from communities that border Berkshire County, but only Florida Elementary (Abbott Memorial) has called in the delay. We'll keep our tally going here, but we can say that the drive in to GSD HQ route 7 in Williamstown was fine as the crews were out most of the night cleaning up.


Florida Elementary
Emma Willard

Southwest Vermont SU
New Lebanon

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Winter Storm Warning for Northern Berkshire

Storm Moonracer continues to amaze us. The GSD Staff decides to head out for a nice meal out on the town, and the next thing we know we come back to the Home Office and the NWS has posted a Winter Storm Warning through 7 AM tomorrow. Not a Watch but a Warning! What in Sam Hill is going on around here?

Even though it's a low end Warning (4-6 inches), we still have to take this advisement from the good folks at NOAA seriously.

Radar as of 7:30 PM
Looking at the radar, we think that this Warning is generous and ultimately will not lead to widespread snow day decisions tomorrow morning. But you never know...

A big heads up to Superintendents, though--you will have to deal with this storm tomorrow morning. We know this means ANOTHER day of dealing with iffy weather conditions--your third day in a row of getting up ridiculously early--but this is why you get the big bucks!

If the snow locks in over our area overnight, then delays will be the way to go. Those districts with high elevation towns may end up canceling school. We won't be surprised to see wider spread delays tomorrow for several districts. Not all districts will get a delay, but we expect three or four schools will opt for the delay.

Check in tomorrow morning! There's still some fight in Moonracer yet.

How Long Is It Going To Snow?

Flake Followers, rejoice! We're done with the sleet and the rain. What we will have for the rest of the afternoon and into the night is pure, unadulterated powdery goodness.

Moisture is streaming in from the southeast and o'erspreading our region. Currently, the snow is light but we will see a few moderate periods this afternoon and into the evening. Driving conditions will be in the D+ and D range between 3 and 7 PM tonight.

As of 12:45 PM on Wednesday; heavy bands of precipitation to the east are heading our way.
The GSD Staff thinks we'll see around 2" in South County and 4" in North County by midnight tonight. Don't forget that a Winter Weather Advisory is still in place for the County.

We'll comment on the chance for school day delays later tonight.

Winter Weather Advisory Extended

Oh so tantalizingly close. The coveted white stuff just refuses to fall for an extended period of time over Berkshire County.

That may change in a significant way later today, but the wraparound snows are staying predominantly to our east and north.

Several schools very close to and bordering Berkshire County have called in the full snow day. Berlin, Hoosick Falls and New Lebanon in New York have all closed for the day.

5:40 AM; this snow is essentially holding in place and should spread eastward later this morning.
As for the rest of the day, we have a steady drizzle going on in most parts of Berkshire County. In some of the higher elevations this drizzle is starting to freeze. By noon or so we're supposed to see more steady snow--finally--and we're looking at 2-4 inches this afternoon into tonight as the temperature starts to drop below freezing. Evening activities could be cancelled, but if you are the person responsible for making the decision to cancel an event, GSD certainly suggests holding off until later today (3 PM) to make that call as the snow may not be that heavy. We do have a WWA in effect until 7 AM Thursday.

At the moment, no schools in Berkshire County have called in any delays. That could change and we'll let you know right here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Precipitation Winding Down

It looks like the rain is finally over from Storm Moonracer and all we're left with are a few snow showers. An impressive band of snow is just to the west of the Berkshires; the counter-clockwise motion of the low pressure system should keep that band of moisture to our west.

As the storm center starts to lift to the north and east and break apart, we may see wraparound bands of snow come from the north and west that could be potent. We'll keep an eye on these in the overnight hours and throughout the day on Wednesday.

Here's the latest radar image (10 PM), and you can see clearly the dry slot moving into the Berkshires:

Because of the precipitation is lifting out more quickly than we expected, we'll be surprised to see too many schools in Berkshire County opt for the delay tomorrow. But local conditions have varied so much from north to south that we won't be surprised if a few districts need an extra hour or two to make the roads safe. Chances are slim, but we are telling you that there is a chance.

Snow in the Mix Tonight; Delays Possible on Wednesday

With nightfall upon us, it looks like conditions are getting worse as Storm Moonracer rages on.

The Winter Weather Advisory is back on for Northern Berkshire County, and we're starting to snow mix in with the rain, especially in the higher terrain and along route 7 from Williamstown, through New Ashford and into Lanesborough.

At some point the rain and snow will let up (around midnight), but we could see a period of light snow all the way into the morning commute tomorrow. Most of this snow would melt on the wet roadways, but there could be enough to make for a slippery and slushy drive to school tomorrow.

We've changed the True North Confidence Meter to indicate the chances for delays tomorrow. As you can see from this recent radar picture, the snow/sleet/rain areas are not uniform and constantly in flux. If you head out to drive around this evening, take it very easy.

As of 6:35 PM
If the NWS issues any Watches, Warnings, or extends any Advisories, we'll let you know.

Storm Moonracer Will Linger for Two More Days

While most students in Berkshire County had to endure an entire day of school today--the horror, the horror--we are not quite finished with this storm just yet even though the National Weather Service has cancelled the Winter Weather Advisory for the Berkshires.

The changeover at the GSD Home Office was so rapid we didn't even see a flake or an ice pellet. Some locals to our south and east saw a fair bit of ice this morning, which necessitated the delays becoming full snow days. Truth be told, Superintendents really had no idea what to do today, which explains the fairly even distribution of delays, snow days, and early releases. It was indeed a crapshoot this morning. Some decisions were good ones; others were not. Let's hope the storms are not all this difficult this winter.

As for the rest of the storm, we do need to keep alert for deteriorating road conditions. The heavy rain we're seeing this afternoon will let up tonight. Because the storm is going to stall over southern New England, we'll have the threat of on-again-off-again precipitation for Wednesday and Thursday.

It probably won't be cold enough in the pre-dawn hours to see any shortening of the school day on Wednesday, but we could see enough cold air and enough moisture to generate periods of snow Wednesday night and into the morning commute on Thursday. If we're going to get anything more out of this storm, it will be delays on Thursday morning.

More to follow tomorrow.

Awaiting the Arrival of Moonracer

A massive wall of precipitation is just to our south; it appears that it will not arrive for another few hours...just in time for most high school buses to roll out.

The temperature is at 32 at the GSD Home Office, so the initial burst of precipitation should be frozen.

That is one impressive wall of moisture headed our way...
Because snow totals are not supposed to be that high (with all the sleet and rain), the NWS did not move our Winter Storm Watch to a Warning. Instead, Berkshire County has a Winter Weather Advisory with 2-6 inches of snow forecasted.

To complicate matters this morning, the NWS has issued a "Special Weather Statement" about the threat of freezing drizzle in advance of the main precipitation from the storm. We're not seeing any of it up here at GSD, but its arrival could further complicate the morning commute.

As for the GSD prediction:

In South County, we think the changeover to rain will be fairly rapid and that the afternoon ride home will be fine as long as road crews have time to do their thing. Perhaps a delay is the right way to go. The only concern--and it is a major one--is that it is still sleeting heavily at 9:30 when it's time to get to school. The computer models are saying one thing; local observation is indicating another.

In North County, the snow/sleet will start later and last later. It still does look like the changeover to all rain will take place before school lets out for the day. It's an extremely close call. Bolder Superintendents will go without any change to the school day; safer Supers will make the headache go away and cancel school.

Here's our list of school day cancellations. We will update throughout the morning--hopefully. (Note that Florida upgraded their release to a full snow day. Wise move.)

Decisions are coming in fast and furious right now.


Mohawk Trail
Florida Elementary
Central Berkshire (again!)
Southern Berkshire (upgrade)


Northern Berkshire


Berlin, NY

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Late Night Last Word on Storm Moonracer

A few more schools in New York have gone ahead with the pre-paid early releases and two-hour delays, but no one near Berkshire County (excluding Abbott Elementary in Florida). It looks like you're going to have to wait until tomorrow morning for a decision, but that is the right course of action.

This is the latest radar image, and it only confirms our skepticism.

Radar as of 9:30 PM, Monday night

We do not love the bifurcation of the southern part of that energy. We've seen this split before in the past, and we hope the dry slot does not make its way over Berkshire County. The big green blob on the right (just below New Jersey) is moving northerly; we need it to shift more toward the east and collide with the cold air over Berkshire County, which would turn the green into a more appealing light blue (snow) or pink color (ice). If it does pan out, the precipitation will be very heavy in the first few hours of the storm and we'd be back in business.

Check in tomorrow morning but get your homework done tonight.

Temper Your Enthusiasm for Storm Moonracer

At least one school we know of will be ending the day early tomorrow, and that is Gabriel Abbott Memorial up there on Florida Mountain. Congrats! Your elevation is working for you on this one; it will be a mess up there no doubt.

Let's play a little game of SCENARIOS: BEST CASE/WORST CASE, shall we?

WORST CASE: The storm doesn't get going until 8 or 9 AM; after a brief but intense period of snow, sleet begins to mix in; rain takes over the sleet by noon; a hard, cold rain falls for the rest of the night as temps rise toward 40 degrees. The school day is not impacted. Moonracer is a bust.

BEST CASE: Around 4 AM the NWS changes the Watch to a Warning. The snow starts to come down just as the Superintendents of Berkshire County wake up and take their first peek out the window. The temperature predictions are lower than expected, and the snow and sleet is expected to last into the afternoon (thus the change to the Warning). Snow quickly coats the roads and comes down steadily until around 11 or 12 when the sleet kicks in, making for treacherous driving conditions for the afternoon. Superintendents decide it's all too risky and cancel school. Boys and girls up and down Berkshire County rejoice and are so grateful that they make snowflake cookies, miniature fruit cakes, and creative candy cane ornaments to give to their Superintendents on Wednesday. Everybody's a winner!

The GSD Staff would be delighted to see the best case scenario, but--here comes the wet blanket--our confidence is just not very high for Storm Moonracer. We don't want to sell this storm short, as it does have the potential to create dangerous conditions tomorrow--slick roads, heavy snow sticking to trees again, some power outages (that's why there's a Winter Storm Watch--but the warming air is a huge stumbling block for us. It's already 26 degrees at GSDHQ and it's creeping up ever so slowly.

When you wake up tomorrow morning, the first thing you should check (yes, even before you check GSD) is the temperature. If it's above freezing--make that lunch, you're going to school. At 30, 31 or 32--you might get the delay call; wait for it. Twenty-nine and below--hit the snooze button because you probably aren't going to school.

Mmm, mmm ice pellets. More ice pellets, please.
By all means keep an ear out for the robocall tomorrow morning, but be prepared for a messy, slushy, unpleasant day.

Afternoon Thoughts About Storm Moonracer

We don't have too much to pass along other than that the wait-and-see approach--i.e., let's see what it's looking like tomorrow around 5 AM--will probably be the best course of action for this storm.

We have heard a few reports that the Euro model is taking the storm slightly to our east. This would be good news for the Berkshires. Generally speaking, if you want a lot of snow, you to be on the west side of the the center of energy--the low pressure system. The forecast is for the low pressure system to move right over New England and stay there for 36 hours or so. So, because the center of the storm is supposed to be right on top of us, the warm air from the south and from the ocean will make its way into the Berkshires, thus changing the snow to rain. If the storm can push 100 miles to the east, we will have a better shot of staying on the snow side of the storm.

Heavy snow will only be 50 to 75 miles away from the lower-elevation towns of the Berkshires. The Poconos and the Adirondacks are supposed to get pummeled. We could be a part of those heavy snowfalls if the storm shifts eastward at all. But currently it's not forecasted to move all that far to the east.

Here's a very ambitious snow forecast from the European model:

Courtesy of Henry Margusity at Accuweather.

A good rule of thumb is to expect about 2/3rds of what the Euro model is predicting for snow. It tends to run high as we've seen over the last few years. So, if our adjusted Euro prediction comes through, we're still looking at 8" across the Berkshires starting tomorrow morning and ending on Wednesday mid-morning.

Paul Caiano's first map for Storm Moonracer.
Eight inches is a sizable amount, but that forecast alone won't cancel school on Tuesday. As always, it's going to come down to the timing. We're just not sure if it's going to start early enough to impact the morning commute, but more importantly will be the forecast for the dismissals at 2:30 and 3:00. And right now we don't have quite enough information to know what it's going to be doing then. The trend is that the warm air will convert the frozen stuff to rain by the midday period.

Even if we don't get a snow day out of this one, King Moonracer reigns supreme!
More to follow later; we'll have a more definitive call about tomorrow's delays and snow days by 10 PM.

Much Disagreement Still for Tuesday's Storm

It's still much too early for us to make a prediction for tomorrow. The Euro model is forecasting over 6 inches of snow for Albany. The North American models are right in the 2-3" range. Other models are even forecasting all rain.

Here's the snowfall forecast from NOAA-Albany. They are using a combination of models for their prediction:

Thanks to NWS Albany for this graphic.

You can see that the hill towns of Berkshire County could get pounded, but lower elevations will only see 2-4 inches. This storm just has so many variables that it will be very difficult for Superintendents to make the right call no matter what they decide to do.

This will be a right-down-to-the-wire type of storm. Don't expect to see too many schools in the Berkshires call in the snow day ahead of time tonight.

Winter Storm Watch for the Berkshires

Our good friends at the National Weather Service have issued a Winter Storm Watch for all of Berkshire County. The Watch period begins at 4 AM Tuesday--this is good news, snow day lovers--and ends at 7 AM Wednesday.

The Watch has been issued for two reasons: the potential for 7+ inches of snow and the potential for sleet and freezing rain throughout the day on Tuesday and into  Tuesday night.

There will be enough cold air in place for the event to begin as snow. Even if the snow starts two hours after the start of the Watch period, the morning commute tomorrow will be messy, and the chances of conditions deteriorating throughout the day now remain high.

Predicting this storm correctly has been like trying to fish for eel barehanded, but the GSD Staff now feel that snow days and early releases are both very possible for tomorrow because of the threat of a terrible road conditions at the close of the school day.

The radar shows little moisture to our west or south, but the low pressure will strengthen once it gets to the coast and become a nor'easter. This is what the Euro model was predicting four and five days ago, and we now think it may be right. Once it develops, we could see close to an inch of liquid precipitation within the first 24-hours of the storm. If it stays all snow, that would mean about a foot of snow. Any change to sleet or freezing rain, however, will bring that number down considerably.

Predicted snowfall through noon on Wednesday. The Berkshires are firmly in the 8" zone.
We'll have more info, of course, later today.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Prolonged Storm to Begin Tuesday Night

The big Storm du Jour that we've been writing about for a few days has now morphed into a giant mess that will start impacting our region Tuesday night and last all the way through, possibly, Saturday.

Unfortunately, the warm air that has been in place for the last week or so will prove to be a problem for those of us wishing for a mega-snow storm. This is one of those storms that will be very hard to predict because we'll be right on the freezing point or slightly above through the duration of the storm. This storm will bring the quadruple threat: snow, sleet, freezing rain, and plain old rain. A one or two degree shift in the temperatures could greatly impact whether or not we get delays, releases, or full snow days.

The GSD Staff is very much divided about this storm. One group is underwhelmed by the forecast models and thinks the frozen precipitation will be limited, meaning it will be mostly a rain event. The optimists in the office think we'll get prolonged periods of sleet with some snow mixed in. They are thinking delays are a possibility for both Wednesday and Thursday. of now we don't think the good boys and girls of Berkshire County will be getting an early holiday gift from the Snow Gods in the form of a full snow day. We do think, though, that delays will be more likely Wednesday morning than on Thursday morning.

We're not at all confident at the moment about our own prediction. We need at least 24-more hours to check out the maps of the thermal profiles to see if enough cold enough air will be in place. Conventional wisdom says don't get too excited. As we've said before, it's a complex storm and there may just be too many parts to it for them to all come together.

We're not entirely sure the Accuweather folks have enough solid info to make this map, but we'll at least enter it into the equation.
We reserve our right to change our minds by tomorrow night. We hope we will have better news.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Early Storm Info (for Tuesday)

We've been touting the European Model as the go-to weather forecaster for the last few years. Even though this map will do nothing to temper the hype we are likely to see before Tuesday's storm, we still feel it's necessary to pass it on, even though it seems pretty preposterous. It's a future-cast of the probable snowfall for this storm through Wednesday:

Thanks to Henry Margusity and Accuweather for this image.

We are right in that 18" range for this map, which is a very, very optimistic forecast. It's our professional opinion that there's no way this storm is going to deliver this amount of moisture and snow. We might not even see much snow at all as the lack of cold air in place could yield more rain than frozen precip. Still, it's fun to see what could potentially come our way if the Snow Gods smile down upon us.

Despite our skepticism about this storm's ability to generate the same level of snow as Storm Mincemeat, we're going to open up a naming poll just in case. 

More to follow on Sunday.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Attention on Tuesday

A happy Friday to you all. We have some messiness approaching us from the south and the west, but this will be a mostly rain event for the Berkshires tonight and throughout the day on Saturday. The precipitation could start as snow and/or sleet tonight for a short period before the changeover. NOAA has issued WWAs for the areas to our north, so it's possible Northern Berkshire might pick up an Advisory later this afternoon only if forecasters think there will be icing. If you're riding around between 6 and 9 PM tonight, you'll want to be attentive to icy patches.

As for the big news...we're seeing minor rumblings about a moderate to large storm that could descend upon us and bring its wrath starting on Monday night. This storm is a little more complicated than the pre-Thanksgiving storm (Storm Mincemeat), so we strongly urge that you don't get too ahead of yourselves on this one. However, it must be said that the potential exists for possible a possible snow day on Tuesday if the stars align and all of the moving parts of this storm fall into place.

The Euro model takes the storm toward the West (big storm); the North American takes it farther East (nothing to worry about). Thanks to Accuweather for the image.
Once again it's the Euro model leading the way, and allegedly the Euro has been pretty good lately 5 and 6 days in advance of a storm. Bernie Rayno, the Northeast Winter Weather expert at Accuweather, is very bullish on this storm. He's already calling for 6+ for our area, with 12+ across upper NY, most of VT and NH, and interior sections of Maine. The Weather Channel is less certain about this storm, giving it only a 2 in 10 chance that they will give it a name (which means it has a better chance of being a bust than a blockbuster).

What you need to do right now is not worry about it. With so many differences of opinion, there's no sense in getting too excited too soon. On Sunday we'll have a much better read on the storm and how it will or won't affect the school day on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend. Keep one eye open for bad driving conditions tonight.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Not Much to Write Home About

Frankly, the GSD Staff hates a day like today. We didn't do the best job of predicting delays or snow days for this morning--we lowered the Confidence Meter to 10% yesterday when we should have left it at 33%--and we feel bad about that.

Of course we were very happy for those schools that got delays, but the prediction of how ice will impact the school day is by far one of the more challenging things that we have to do at GSD. We know, we know--weather people problems--but we rarely ever feel good about our predictions when it comes to the dicey-ness of ice. So let's just move on and focus on the future.

So, what's in store for the next week? Well, our look into the meteorological crystal ball reveals much instability in our area but very little substantive snow. Many reports we've read have indicated that December will be warmer than normal. In fact, we may not see real winter cold until the end of the month. These reports do not rule out big storms; they just mean that a nor'easter may be a little harder to come by. Sadly, we won't be surprised to see November's snow total be more than December's, unless we get a big Holiday vacation storm.

Here are our chances for snow for the next week: 1) A short period Friday night then a changeover to rain for Saturday; snow could then usher out this system on Saturday night as a colder patch of air moves in. 2) Perhaps a few snow showers on Monday afternoon. 3) Tuesday could bring more sustained snow that might actually accumulate.

This system could create a brief period of snow on Friday night. Thanks to Accuweather for the image.
The models are in much disagreement about the next few disturbances. There is a chance of small coastal storm for Monday into Tuesday. If we're going to hang the GSD winter hat on any of these storms, it will have to be the Tuesday event. We're not super-confident about it, but it's the best we got, as they say.

We'll let you know if the Tuesday storm strengthens.

Delays for Wednesday December 3

Ten percent on the True North Confidence Meter turned out to be just enough for two districts and two towns this morning. The hill towns must be a mess as Florida and Mohawk Regional have called in delays. Central Berkshire has a full snow day as it already had a scheduled Professional Development half day.

Congratulations to those students. As for the rest of us, it's unlikely we'll see more delays this morning as the precipitation is sporadic and the temperature is well above freezing at the GSD Home Office.


Mohawk Trail (2-hr.)
Florida (2-hr.)
North Adams (1-hr.)


Central Berkshire

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winter Weather Advisory for Tonight

The WWA that we wrote about yesterday has been posted for the Berkshires for tonight through 6 AM tomorrow morning.

You can expect to see about 1-2 inches of snow (starting between 5 and 6 PM) followed by a short period of sleet as we get toward midnight. After that, temps will warm up and we'll see light rain throughout the day on Wednesday.

Given the accelerated timing of this storm, as well as the warming temperatures, our confidence is now extremely low for delays tomorrow morning. Road crews will have plenty of time to deal with any icy roads the develop in the overnight hours.

There's a chance the colder air could hang around longer than we anticipate, but it would be a very long shot indeed.

Until we meet again!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Wintry Mess for Wednesday Morning

It's great to be back, isn't it? Probably the worst thing about the return to school/work after the Thanksgiving weekend is the hunger. You know how over the last few days you snuck that extra bite of pumpkin bread or leftover pie right around 10 AM just to take the edge off? Well, today you're going cold turkey (pun fully intended) and will have no impromptu snack break. You'll just have to wait for your little box of time to eat lunch, which is almost inhumane if you think about it too long.

Fortunately, we have a situation in the works that might keep your mind off your holiday hunger pangs. There's a mess of a system moving our way for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. At the moment we think we'll see a light snow fall on Tuesday night (1-3") and then a period of sleet and freezing rain as we move toward daybreak. Eventually, we'll have rain on Wednesday, but the GSD Staff is curious just how messy the roads will be on Wednesday.

Ultimately, our confidence is low on this one because the overall amount of moisture is not very high. But we will suggest the possibility of a delay by raising the True North Confidence Meter to 33%. Per guidance from NOAA, it sounds like we'll see a Winter Weather Advisory for the Berkshires in the next 24 hours. This is mostly because of the threat of icy weather.

A futurecast map of our chance of getting freezing rain. This map is as of noon on Wednesday. It might not be much but it could be enough to impact the morning commute on Wednesday.
We've got our eye on this one so you don't have to. Check in later tonight or early tomorrow for any new developments.