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

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Sneaky Alberta Clipper

[See the previous post for our complete list of delays for Friday.]

In the winter storm family, the Alberta Clipper is the annoying little brother. A generator of light, "nuisance" snows, the AC is often weak and moves through like a gadfly. Occasionally, clippers get to the coast, stall, and then develop into coastal lows. But these scenarios are rare.

In terms of snowfall, today's Alberta clipper really won't generate much--only 3 inches, perhaps 4 in higher elevations. As of 7 AM at the GSD Home Office, we measured 1.8 inches of snow. It all wraps up before noon today, with some brief snow showers popping up in the afternoon.

The big lesson from today's storm is that it's all about the timing. This storm couldn't have been any better. Moderate snow starting around 3:30 and continuing to come down hard when road crew supervisors started to mobilize their crews and when Superintendents started to wake up to face the day. In the case of Mount Greylock, road crews thought they could manage it, but the snow proved to be too moderate and a very late (6:30) call went out. But no delay call is ever too late.

Two days of sleeping in this week for most districts! Not a bad way to ease into the grind after the holiday vacation.

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