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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winter Weather Advisory for Sunday/Monday

It isn't much of a surprise at all, but the NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of the Berkshires starting tomorrow.

The Advisory period begins at noon on Sunday and ends at 7 AM Monday. That's not a great sign for a full snow day on Monday (too early), but delays are very much a possibility.

The GSD Staff is still confident we'll see 4-5" with this storm, with possibly 6" in Northern Berkshire.

We'll have more info tomorrow about the exact timing of the storm.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Messy Week Ahead

Happy weekend, snowhounds!

We have an exciting period ahead of us. Our Sunday storm looks on the light-to-moderate side, and then there's a big mess (snow, sleet, freezing rain) headed our way between Tuesday and Thursday.

Currently, the models are suggesting about a third of an inch of liquid for the Sunday storm. With the cold air still in place and plenty (!) of snowpack on the ground, we'll see all snow with this storm. A third of inch should translate to 4-5" of snow. The problem with this storm is the timing. Alas, it looks like the snow will end in the early morning hours of Monday (1-2 AM). Delays are possible, and the GSD Staff has reached consensus that a full snow day Monday is unlikely.

Our snow forecast though 6 PM on Monday. The Berkshires is safely in the 4-6" range.

The midweek storm, however, will be a frustrating one for us to predict. There will be a long period of moisture, and we'll just have to see if there's enough concentration of snow or mixed precip at the right time to change the length of a school day. Wednesday will be the day if we are to get a delay or cancellation.

Enjoy the relatively mild temps this weekend, and look for the snow to start some time in the mid-afternoon on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow Storms Around the Corner

We've been quiet the last few days because the forecast has been quiet. But that is about to change.

We have two storms in our near future. We could see moderate snow Sunday night into Monday, and then Tuesday into Wednesday we have a possible snow and mixed precipitation storm headed our way.

The Sunday/Monday storm is more likely, but it has less moisture associated with it. The Euro model is predicting up to half an inch of liquid, which could mean 6" of snow for us. That's certainly enough to alter the length of the day on Monday, if not cancel school. This storm looks better for North County than South County, but we'll see if it shifts in the next few days.

There's so much uncertainty about the Tuesday/Wednesday storm that we're not going to spend too much time on it right now. We'll see if it develops, and if it does, it will be much more potent than the piddling 4-6" we will likely see on Sunday.

Watch for the return of subzero cold Friday and Saturday mornings. Bundle up!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Freeze Delays

[UPDATED 9:18 PM]

It's seems like we've written this sentence about five times already this winter, but (we think) we really mean it this time. We could see the coldest morning of the season tomorrow.

The NWS has issued a Wind Chill Advisory through 6 AM tomorrow morning. What's funny is that there really isn't going to be that much wind by the morning hours. It's just going to be that cold.

It will be cold this week, but a warm-up has been predicted for March.
We expect the low tomorrow to happen around 6 or 7 AM when we could see temps between -12 and -18 degrees. A little wind will actually prevent temperatures from falling too low. If the wind stops in your area, it could get to -18. If it gets that low, it could break the daily record.

With temps this low, bus engines could be impacted. Several school districts have already made the decision to start the day later to let everything warm up a few degrees.

We'll start a list here and hope to update it throughout the evening. This will be a very hit-or-miss decision depending on the mood of your superintendent, so not all Berkshire County schools will be impacted.

TWO-HOUR FREEZE DELAY:

Southern Berkshire
Hancock
Richmond
Pittsfield
Berkshire Hills
Central Berkshire
Mount Greylock
Lanesborough
Williamstown
BArT

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow On The Way for Saturday Night

The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of the Berkshires due to an approaching snow and mixed precipitation storm. The Advisory period begins at 5 PM Saturday and ends at 10 AM Sunday, so it is a fast-moving storm.

Expect snow to begin between 4 PM and 5 PM. You might see a stray snow shower before that time, but the bulk of the accumulating snow will really start to fall around 6 PM. We expect most of the county to get 4" or 5", with the higher elevations getting closer to 8". Snow totals could be lower in South County if sleet mixes in, as it is expected to.

Image courtesy of Accuweather.

Had this storm been on a school night, we would be looking at widespread snow days for the County.

This storm should be wrapping up with snow showers and some drizzle (liquid) in the middle of the day on Sunday.

After this storm comes through, the cold air returns, and it looks like a relatively quiet week coming up on the snow/storm front.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Wind Chill Warning and Weekend Storm

We have to keep this brief as the bulk of of the GSD Staff is on the road this weekend for various personal and meteorological engagements...

Earlier today the NWS has upgraded the Wind Chill Watch to a Wind Chill Warning through 10 AM on Friday. High temps won't be very high on Friday. We might max out at 8 degrees (on the plus side). With the 10 to 20 mph winds in the morning, it will feel like -10 to -20 tomorrow morning.

The storm for the weekend is starting to take a shape. We'll see snow around sunset on Saturday with 3-5" by Sunday morning. On Sunday, we'll see warm air work its way into the Berkshires and convert the snow to sleet and a freezing drizzle by Sunday afternoon. Temps could get into the upper 30s on Sunday, easily the highest we've seen since December. Driving conditions will be below par on Sunday due to the snow and mixed precipitation.

School will go on as scheduled on Monday, but we do like what we're hearing about a storm for Tuesday into Wednesday. The Euro model is bullish on this storm, but that one has not been a great indicator as of late.

Despite our absence from the GSD Home Office, we're on top of the weekend and midweek storms, and we'll update as soon as we can.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Alberta Clipper Visits Tonight; Messy Weekend Forecast

Be on the lookout, Flake Followers, for a little light snow tonight into tomorrow morning. We'll see up to 3" or 4" in the higher terrains with this minor system, but most of us in the County will see an inch. There's a slight chance for a delay for Central Berkshire tomorrow, but it's nothing to pin your hopes on.

On Thursday, temps will be half of what they were today (15 degrees for a high), and we might see a few potent snow squalls as the AC hits the coast and strengthens. There was just a hint of spring in the air today, wasn't there.

Friday and Saturday mornings will be brutally cold in advance of a (relative) warm-up and weekend snow storm. The storm is going to come in from the Ohio Valley, which means for the first time in a very long time we are talking about the potential for mixed precipitation for Sunday. There's a lot of model disagreement at this point, but the consensus is that we'll see a moderate snow storm starting later in the day on Saturday and ending Sunday night.

We doubt it will impact school on Monday, but it will definitely slow down people's travel plans if they're coming back from vacation.

Classic winter storm set-up. Thanks to Accuweather for the graphic.
The GSD Staff will now turn its attention to this weekend storm; we'll have more specific info tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

More Cold; Nuisance Snow

Sadly, the big storm we were hoping for tonight into tomorrow has gone south and is impacting southeastern New England. We could see a stray snow shower from it this morning--especially in South County--but otherwise it will be a cloudy and cold day with temps shooting up to the lower 20s. Get out the shorts!

Sorry, Central Berkshire and private school students--you will have full days of school the rest of the week. There's a very slim chance of a freeze delay Thursday morning, but really that's just us trying to give you some hope for a shorter day at some point.

As for snow, we could see the aforementioned showers today, an inch Wednesday night, another inch Thursday night, and then over the weekend up to 6" on Saturday afternoon. The European model is predicting between .25" and .5" of liquid. The temps will be warmer over the weekend--low 30s--so this storm would bring a wetter, heavier snow with snow-to-liquid ratios more in the 10:1 range.

Currently, there is no big warm-up in sight. We'll get into the 30s this weekend, but then it's right back to the low 20s for highs during the week of the 23rd. Punxsutawney Phil has been spot on with his forecast so far.




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Brace for the Cold

The shot of snow we got from the coastal New England blizzard is now over. At the GSD Home Office, we have measured 4.1 inches of very fluffy powder.

Now all that's left to do is watch that thermometer as it creeps lower and lower over the evening hours. We will bottom out at -13 degrees on Monday morning. Egads.

The winds have picked up and there's significant blowing snow to deal with as you're out on the roads. Road conditions will be sub-optimal throughout the day because of the constant swirling snow.

This is what most of Boston looks like as of Sunday morning. Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe.
We have a Staff member in Boston this weekend to check out the blizzard. He reports about 9 inches of snow with wicked winds, as they say in those parts. (Gusts up to 65 mph are expected!) Getting around Boston is hard enough as it is without 5-foot snowbanks on both sides of the street. If you were thinking of heading to Beantown during vacation, you might want to wait until April vacation for that mission.

Back to the Berkshires...

Most of the computer models are taking the Tuesday/Wednesday storm out to sea, but a recent model run has moved the storm more northerly. Hopefully that trend will continue for all those Central Berkshire students who have to go to school on Wednesday. We don't have a lot of confidence that this storm will pan out, but we believe in the power of positive thinking and will do our best to get it to our area.

Take care in the cold today and tomorrow!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Advisories and Warnings

You may be on vacation but the GSD Staff is not. We have two developments to contend with that will impact your activities over the next few days.

Before we start, here are some fun weather facts. If Boston gets one inch of snow today, it will be the snowiest month ever since they started recording snow fall data. (They're supposed to get 10-14" tonight.) As for Albany, it is experiencing the 3rd coldest February on record, with brutal cold expected for the next week.

As for snow...

We have a Winter Weather Advisory for the Berkshires that begins at 10 AM. Snow will overspread our area from an Alberta Clipper starting between noon and 1 PM. Snow will be light at first, but it could get to moderate levels later in the day. One meteorologist in Albany dropped the phrase "explosive cyclogenesis" on us. For snow lovers that's a great expression, but that cyclogenesis--when a storm really starts to expand its precipitation and strengthen--will mostly happen in the east, which is why blizzard warnings are now in effect for most of the Massachusetts coast.

Even though we won't get much snow--3 inches is about right--we could see blizzard conditions for stretches tonight because of the blowing snow. White out conditions are likely tonight. The bad stretches on route 7 will be particularly bad tonight.

Thanks, Accuweather.
As the snow moves out by daybreak on Sunday, the coldest air of the season moves in along with strong winds. A Wind Chill Warning has been issued for the Berkshires that starts at 10 AM Sunday and ends at noon on Monday. The worst of it will be Sunday afternoon and evening when temps are in the single digits and the winds are howling away with gusts up to 35 mph. As we've been saying all week, find something to do indoors. But when you have to take Fluffy or Fido out for their morning business on Monday, make it snappy and make sure no skin is exposed.

As for the Tuesday/Wednesday storm, some of the models are pushing it out to sea to our south. A few are still holding on and giving us a moderate snow storm. It seems to be behaving like Thursday's storm, which ultimately really wasn't a storm. We'll let you know more tomorrow.

Enjoy today's snow, and for those who celebrate it, Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Vacation Snow and Cold

Happy Vacation, everyone. It doesn't quite seem like we deserve a full week off after all the snow days, but who's really complaining? We know the graduating class of 2015 certainly is not.

The temps didn't go quite as low as some forecasters thought. We had a -1 reading at daybreak at the GSD Home Office. The wind was strong there for a while in the overnight hours, but now it has settled down. And Superintendents are downright tired of calling in delays and cancellations, which also explains why there were no freeze delays this morning.

Image courtesy of the Weather Channel.
The big news is the eastern New England blizzard, which could throw a few inches our way out west. So, for this storm the state financial and meteorological landscapes are very much the same. Zing!

We could see up to 6" of the lightest snow you'll ever shovel starting tomorrow afternoon and into Sunday. With any winds, though, we'll have white out conditions, which shouldn't be taken lightly, especially for those new drivers out there.

Sunday will be unpleasant. Just stay inside. Trust us on this one.

And finally, mucho uncertianto about the big storm for Tuesday and Wednesday. We still have our full attention on it, but the computer models are providing so much variety in their forecasts that it's hard to synthesize them into an intelligible prediction. We'll know much more by Sunday.




Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wild Weather Ahead

We have a wild few days ahead of us.

First, let's deal with the possibilities of freeze delays tomorrow. Yes, a Wind Chill Advisory is in effect. Temps will be below zero and winds will be gusty, taking wind chill values into the -15 to -25 degree range. Similar to last Friday, we think a few schools will delay the start of the day because of those forecasted conditions. We see that Pittsfield has made buses available for all walkers for Friday, which means that they are likely to have a full day of school.

These are the high temperatures for these days. Thanks to NWS Albany for this great graphic.

As for Saturday, temps could be rather seasonable (high teens), but we do have a threat of a 4-6" snowfall for Saturday afternoon and night. This storm popped up suddenly. A low pressure system will zoom in from Ontario and then set up camp on the coast. With the counterclockwise rotation of the storm, it is expected to pull warmer Atlantic Ocean moisture back over the incredibly cold air that is in place over New England. With very high snow to liquid ratios expected from this mixture, it won't surprise us to see a quick 6" from this storm in the Berkshires. The farther you head east, the higher the snow totals. Boston is looking at another 10-12".

If you have big plans for Saturday night, you will want to keep an eye on this storm as it could make for dangerous driving conditions, especially if the winds persist and blow the snow around.

Sunday is still expected to be very cold--low single digits for highs--and Monday morning's low temperatures could be record-breaking.

Finally--and the GSD Staff is very excited about this news--the computer models are setting up the possibility for a blockbuster level snowstorm for Tuesday night into Wednesday. The North American model is less aggressive with the forecast; the Euro model is predicting winter weather doom. This storm will come out of the deep south, so it does have the potential to develop into a full-fledged nor'easter. Hold on to your hats, Flake Followers.

Even though it will be vacation week, the GSD Staff still will be hard at work and will provide storm updates throughout the weekend and following week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Arctic Blast for the Weekend; Possible Storm

After a nice few days of winter normalcy--some sun, a few high clouds, temps in the mid 20s and lower 30s--we're about to see a drastic change.

The storm we had been talking about for Thursday has now been put in the fizzle folder. We will see light snow and snow showers starting tonight. The best the Berkshires will see is 2.5 inches, but that's it. The snow fall rate will not be high enough to generate any delays. We'll leave a small percentage on the True North Confidence Meter, but all students in Berkshire County should expect a full day of school tomorrow.

From the NWS Albany Office (for Monday morning)
Starting tomorrow, we're going to see some of the coldest air we've had in these parts in years. We should be below zero to start the day on Friday, and then it will warm up to a balmy 8 degrees for the high for the day. Saturday will feel like spring is just around the corner with temps approaching 20 degrees.

And then there's Sunday.

Sunday's high will be 2 degrees, with a 10 to 20 mph wind kicker. Some spots in the Berkshires might not get above zero for the day. A Wind Chill Advisory or Warning is likely for Sunday into Monday morning, when temps could drop to -15 degrees, -30 with the wind chill. It looks like Sunday will be a very good idea to get the wood stove going early and to stay indoors.

With vacation week upon us (for most), we're not too concerned about the long-range forecast, but we are hearing a few rumblings about a signficant snow storm for Saturday night into Sunday and then one on Tuesday. Saturday's storm could bring us 6-10". (We do not like the tone of that sound you just made. Don't even think about wanting this winter to end!)

Bundle up! And we'll have more about the Saturday storm when we learn a few more details.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Delays for Tuesday

Just a few two-hour delays have been called in from towns bordering Berkshire County. No surprises here. So far, here's what we have:

Berlin
New Lebanon
Mohawk Trail

Monday, February 9, 2015

Storm Ringo Winds Down; Bitter Cold's Around the Corner

Storm Ringo more or less got the job done, and it's now in the wind-down stage. We've seen reports of 7" in Pittsfield, 13" in Dalton, and 10" in Hancock. At GSD Headquarters, we measured 8.1" of granular snow.

We've got our eye on another clipper/coastal low for Thursday. It looks like it will start in the overnight hours Wednesday and continue throughout the day on Thursday. We'll probably see 3" or so, but some forecasters are already projecting 3-6 inches. We could see a Winter Weather Advisory on Thursday from this latest storm. As for school, we'll likely see full days.

It turns out it will be very cold on Friday morning, with lows in the negative single digits. Highs on Friday will be in the positive single digits only for negative double digits to make their appearance Saturday morning. That's a lot of cold digits.

Here's an attention-getting quotation from NWS Albany:

THE MAIN CONCERN DURING THE LONG TERM PERIOD IS AGAIN WITH THE
BITTERLY COLD ARCTIC AIRMASS THAT WILL BE IN PLACE ACROSS THE
REGION...ESPECIALLY THIS UPCOMING WEEKEND. A FAIRLY STRONG PRESSURE
GRADIENT ACROSS THE REGION WILL NOT HELP THE COLD SITUATION
EITHER...AS DANGEROUSLY LOW AND LIFE THREATENING WIND CHILLS LOOK TO
BE IN PLACE ACROSS THE ENTIRE FORECAST AREA THURSDAY INTO EARLY NEXT
WEEK.

We don't know about you, but we at GSD are not big fans of the words "life threatening" when they're attached to cold temperatures. It might be good to plan a lot of indoor activities from Friday through Monday.

More on Thursday's snow event as we get closer to it.



Storm Ringo Update

If it's a Monday in February 2015, then that must mean it's a snow day for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Enjoy these heady, snowy times--they don't come around too often.

Snow will continue in a steady fashion until about 1 PM. There could be a few snow showers this afternoon and evening but they won't be anything to worry about. Road conditions will improve around midday. We'll see another 3-4 inches by the time it stops. The snow is not quite as light and fluffy as the last two storms. There's warmer air above the surface air which has made for a more granular snow. Shovelling it will not be as easy as the past two storms.

Courtesy of Albany's WNYT, Channel 13.
We do not feel there will be any delays or snow days tomorrow morning. Other communities well to our east will have the double snow day. Boston has already called off school for Tuesday. Boston is up to 8 snow days for winter 2014-15.

The evil words "shorten April vacation" are starting to be uttered. We do not like this trend. But we also heard on Boston's public radio outlet this morning that Gov. Baker is considering a one-year waiver for school's ability to meet 990 hours of instructional time. Nothing is set in stone yet; we'll have much more on these developments in future posts.

The next snow event should occur in the early morning hours Thursday and into Thursday midday. It will be very light--one or two inches--and should not impact the length of the day on Thursday, but we do have our eye on it.

Alas, our freeze delay chance for Friday is not going to happen. We'll still see temps in the -12 to -16 range but not until Saturday morning, which is the first day of February break.

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

This Just In...

SNOW DAYS for MONDAY:

North Adams
Clarksburg
Hancock
Richmond
Florida
Mohawk Trail
Berkshire Country Day
Southwest Vermont SU (Mt. Anthony)
Southern Berkshire
Central Berkshire
Adams-Cheshire
Berkshire Hills
Pittsfield
Lenox
BArT
Mt. Greylock
Lanesboro
Williamstown
BCC
Pine Cobble
Lee
McCann

When we first started GSD, we devised a formula that factored in the timing, the amount of projected snow fall, the possibility for ice, and the mindsets of the Superintendents. Little did we know that we would have to take into account the Governer's decisions.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has declared that all non-emergency state personnel stay home from work tomorrow. He has also suggested that all businesses let employees work from home tomorrow if they can. We don't know for certain if Charlie Baker expects the Berkshires to follow his decrees--[Gov. CB: Wait, that county out there isn't a part of Vermont?]--but I suppose some Superintendents ought to take his announcement into consideration.

Because of Governor Baker's announcement, we'll bump up the TNCM another few percentage points.

Just for fun. Here's a helpful image:


For those new to this map, we're in the 12-15" range. Certainly more than enough to cancel school.



Storm Ringo: Evening Report

Apparently, a few Superintendents have not read GSD today. They've called in the snow day already. Congrats to the students of those towns and districts. Ultimately, that might be the right decision, but it is a little premature, according to the GSD Staff.

We just took a brief tour of the roads in North County and route 7 is okay but not great. The snow is coming down in a very light fashion. If the snow continues in this way for the next 36 hours, we would understand why there will be widespread snow days tomorrow simply because road crews will not be able to keep up. That's probably going to be the case, but you never know what will or will not transpire overnight.

We're going to bump up the True North Confidence Meter a few notches only because Superintendents are already starting to cave like US cinema operators during The Interview scandal.

Here's the running tally.

SNOW DAY:

North Adams
Clarksburg
Hancock
Richmond
Florida
Mohawk Trail

[If you want actual weather details about the storm, read this post.]

Storm Ringo: Midday Update

**UPDATE: Snow Day for North Adams and Clarksburg tomorrow.** (5:01 PM)

Something about this storm has the feel of a bust. We've been going around and around on this storm at the GSD Home Office, and something about it just feels off.

Here's what we don't like:

1) We performed better than average and average on the last two storms. We're due for a "market correction."

2) The moisture isn't streaming in quite like we thought it might.

Perhaps the dry spell in the morning is throwing us off the scent, but it just doesn't feel as if the storm is organized enough--or will organize enough--to generate 12-18 inches of snow, as many forecasters are predicting.

Here's the current radar as of 2:45 PM:


That's a nice looking band of moderate snow. It is headed our way, but our concern is how narrow it is. If it jogs north or south at all by 50 miles, we could be out of luck in the Berkshires.

The storm is supposed to gain strength as a low pressure system moves to the coast, but it will not have nor'easter strength. We have less faith in the coastal portion of the snow storm now.

Right now we are thinking that we'll see about 3-4" from the band of snow you see above extending back to the Great Lakes. Then, as the coastal low strengthens later tonight, we'll see another 3-5". If the road crews do a good job, then we will see more delays than snow days for Monday.

Because so many schools have used 4 and 5 snow days already, Superintendents are going to be reluctant to call a snow day, especially with February break right around the corner. [Apparently this year some districts do not have a February break (Central Berkshire, for one), so those Superintendents might be feeling less pressure to have school.]



The one part of the forecast working for us is that snow is expected to fall throughout the day on Monday. If that forecast proves to be true, Superintendents will have no choice but to cancel school for the day.

The double snow day seems like a long shot right now, but we won't know until the coastal piece of the storm kicks in.

There's a very good chance that most schools will be closed tomorrow, but we just want to prepare you that Storm Ringo might end up in the 6-9 range, not the 10-14 or 14-18 range.

Storm Ringo is not a stone cold lead pipe lock.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Winter Storm Warning for the Berkshires

When it snows, it snows.

We have a major situation on our hands, Followers of the Flake. Our Winter Storm Watch has been upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning. As far as school cancellations go, this is a positive development.

What's unusual is that the Winter Storm Warning period is from 1 AM Sunday until 6 AM Tuesday. This is a very long period of time for a storm, which gives us some pause about the certainty of a snow day for Monday. Still, we think that Monday will likely be a snow day for most districts.

Thanks, Accuweather. That's a nice forecast.
Given the projected snow totals, and school administrators may chafe at this announcement, but we're looking at the possibility of the double snow day--Monday and Tuesday. Also, here's a likely scenario for the upcoming week: snow day Monday; delay Tuesday; freeze delay Friday. One wonders if we should even have a February vacation. (O the blasphemy!)

Light snow is currently falling as of 11 PM Saturday. We'll probably see 4-6 inches throughout the day tomorrow, and then we'll tack on another 6-10 inches overnight Sunday and during the day on Monday. If we start the snow measurements starting tomorrow (Sunday) around noon, we'll see between 12 and 16 inches by Tuesday morning. This is the storm that will not quit.

Keep voting for this storm's name and keep checking in at GSD. We'll update our info on this major storm throughout the day tomorrow. Yes!

Winter Storm Watch for the Berkshires

The chance for a significant snowfall for Monday is on the increase. Initially, weather forecasters held off on giving the Berkshires the Winter Storm Watch that they gave to everyone else around us, but now the signs are pointing to more than 9" of snow over a 24-hour period, which has necessitated the Watch.

Thanks, Accuweather.
This storm, though, is far from a certainty. The best case scenario is that once it starts snowing Sunday afternoon, it will not stop snowing until the very early hours of Tuesday. If that scenario, develops we'll see 15" to 18" total. The worst case scenario is that the boundary between the bitter cold air and the very warm air to our south (it will be in the 50s in most parts of NJ tomorrow) sets up over us and above us and we get a soup of rain, sleet, and freezing rain. Either scenario means that we are almost certain to have a shortened day or no day at all on Monday.

Expect a few inches of snow in the middle of the day today. As for the start time of the Sunday/Monday storm, the GSD Staff thinks it will begin around 3 PM Sunday.

Much of the staff has a big agricultural conference today and will not be able to update you on the storm until much later tonight. Right now we are confident that Monday will be a snow day, but conditions could change because of the uncertainty about where that boundary will set up.

Much more later tonight and tomorrow. Don't forget to vote for this storm's name!

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Monday Storm Muddle

Happy Friday, Flake Followers. Another lively week in the Berkshires with delays, snow days, and freeze delays. There were no early releases to report, which would have completed the royal flush of winter weather school-truncating options.

Everyone is abuzz with excitement because of the potential for another major storm for Monday. We're not feeling entirely confident with what we're seeing from the forecasts, and here's a tweet from Paul Caiano over at Channel 13 in Albany that boils this storm down to its essence:


The ECMWF is our favorite Euro model. The GFS is the US National Weather Service's models. The NAM is the North American model, and the RPM is another US-based model. That's a wild spread. When forecasters make their predictions based on these models, they go with whichever model has been the most accurate lately, and/or they blend the models together to come up a forecast. You can see why meteorologists are holding back on any big announcements for our region for Monday.

We would not suggest that you look at these models and anticipate a foot and half of snow. What you should do is wait another day or so in order for the models to come into agreement.

Whatever happens this weekend, we're pretty sure of two outcomes. 1) It will snow 2 or 3 inches Saturday afternoon and evening. 2) It will snow Sunday evening into Monday. Currently, the GSD Staff feels a 4-8" snow fall is realistic.

We are going to put up a new storm name poll just in case this storm gets to the Watch and Warning levels. It will be slow mover, so we might not actually reach the thresholds necessary for either of those storm announcements.

Freeze Delays

It's only -8 at the Home Office and almost no wind. Just a few schools in South County have gone with the delay, and that's probably going to be it for today. 

TWO-HOUR DELAYS FOR FRIDAY:

Southern Berkshire
Berkshire Hills
Hancock
Richmond 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Freeze Delays Possible

The Wind Chill Advisory has not been lifted for the Berkshires. Winds will pick up in the morning when it's at its coldest--around -10 degrees. 

Some schools have already decided to go with a two-hour delay because students waiting for buses will be exposed to dangerously cold temps. 

Check in at GSD in the AM. And get ready for a very active snow forecast starting Saturday. 

TWO-HOUR DELAYS FOR FRIDAY:

Southern Berkshire
Berkshire Hills

Delays Turn to Snow Days

Breaking news: Mt. Greylock has changed its 2-Hour Delay to a Snow Day.

TWO-HOUR DELAY:

New Lebanon
Hoosick Falls
Mohawk Trail
Florida
Clarksburg
Central Berkshire
Richmond
Hancock
Southern Berkshire

FULL SNOW DAY:

North Adams
Mt. Greylock
Williamstown
Lanesboro 
BArT
Adams/Cheshire
Southwest VT SU (Mt. Anthony)
McCann
Pine Cobble
Berlin 

Snow, Snow and More Snow

Thursday morning's disturbance performed better than expected. So, for our last three storms, we've had better than expected, as expected, and well below expected snow fall totals. That spread doesn't do much to instill a lot of confidence in the models, but if they were flawless, we'd have fewer weather outlets--such as this one--and that wouldn't be as much fun, would it?

You should take tonight's Wind Chill Advisory seriously. Temps will drop to around -10 throughout Berkshire County, and the addition of a 5 MPH wind will be enough to make it feel as if it is 20 below out there. You will need extra time to start cars and buses tomorrow morning.

As for snow...we have several opportunities for more of the white stuff in the next week due to a pipeline of snow originating in Canada:

Friday afternoon -- a few showers or flurries (no accumulation)
Saturday afternoon/evening -- 1-2" possible
Sunday afternoon/night into Monday morning -- the big question mark of the week; possible 3-6"; delays or snow days?
Wednesday night/Thursday morning -- Alberta Clipper; 2-4"?; delays?

We're homing in on the Sunday night storm. It might not deliver this time--the models are in much disagreement--but the trend has been good for the last two storms, taking the low pressure systems farther north and into New England.

That green swath over the US/Canada border is not the kind of Canadien pipeline that merits environmentalist protest. Hopefully it will deliver its goods come Monday morning. (Forecasted snow map as of noon on Sunday.)
We'll have much more on the Sunday/Monday storm over the weekend.


Thursday Delays

As of 5 AM at the GSD Home Office, we had a light snow falling with the temp at 28. Snow should continue for another 90 minutes or so. The main roads are mostly wet and passable. Side roads are still snow-covered. 

We do have a few two-hour delays to report and we will update this list as the calls come in. 

TWO-HOUR DELAY:

Berlin 
New Lebanon
Hoosick Falls
Mohawk Trail
Southwest VT SU (Mt. Anthony)
BArT
McCann
Mt. Greylock
Williamstown
Lanesboro 
Florida
Clarksburg
Central Berkshire
Richmond
Pine Cobble
Hancock
Southern Berkshire

THREE-HOUR DELAY:

Adams-Cheshire

FULL SNOW DAY:

North Adams

One thing to watch for tonight is the return of the truly bitter cold. Negative double digits for lows tonight with some wind. We do have a Wind Chill Advisory in place for tonight and tomorrow morning. Perhaps the coldest night of the year coming up!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Snow Is On The Way

Not much has changed from our previous post. We're still on track for 2-5 inches, with higher amounts in the hilltowns.

It's snowing very lightly right now (7:30 PM), and we should see a period of moderate snow some time after midnight.

The 7:45 radar. This blue mass of snow is heading due east. Notice the darker bands to our west and southwest.
The NWS has not issued a Winter Weather Advisory, which means we will not bump up the percentage for our chance of a delay tomorrow. Which schools will be the lucky ones tomorrow morning? You can find out starting around 5:30 AM when the calls begin to come in (hopefully).

We need it to be snowing around 5 AM tomorrow if we are to get any delays.


Possible Winter Weather Advisory & Delays

Another day in the Berkshires, another snow event. ("Storm" is too strong of a word for what's predicted for the next 24 hours.)

Expect to see steady light snow and/or snow showers throughout the day today with possible accumulations up to an inch.

Tonight, though, we are supposed to see even steadier light and moderate snow falling from the skies. Eastern Mass and New England will make out better with this disturbance, but it will not surprise us to see 3-4" throughout the Berkshires.

A best case scenario for tonight's event
Given how light and dusty the snow is, the GSD Staff has run its advanced metrics on the timing, amount of snow, and efficiency of road crews and decided that there will be delays tomorrow but not widespread ones. We could see an outcome similar to Tuesdays delays (only two schools phoned them in).

Any towns with higher elevations will have a better chance at a delay tomorrow. Adams/Cheshire and Central Berkshire are two possible candidates, but in no way are we 100% predicting delays for these districts.

If the amount of predicted liquid bumps up for this storm in the next run of the computer models, we'll see a Winter Weather Advisory for the Berkshires starting tonight.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Delays for Tuesday

[This post has been updated.]

Just a few delays have been called in this morning. It's hard to say whether these are snow or cold related, but here they are:

2-HOUR DELAY:

Berlin (NY)
Lee
Lenox

As for the next chances for snow...We could see an inch or two tonight as well as up to four inches for Thursday. The timing is looking better for these minor disturbances, and we have to keep on guard for delay possibilities.

Stay warm out there. Negative 9 at the GSD Home Office as of 7 AM.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Storm Trooper Delivers

Storm Trooper took a break around 3 PM today, but the radar clearly shows that there's one more stretch of moderate snow in store for us. The snow should end between 7 and 8 tonight.

That blue patch over is will give us at least two more inches of snow through the evening hours tonight.
At GSD Headquarters, we have 11.0 inches on the ground. We've seen reports of 12 in North Adams and 8 in Lanesborough as well. We expect to see another two or three inches from this latest piece of the storm. Roads were getting clear, but plowing crews will have to get back out there again tonight.

Delays are not at all likely for tomorrow. With the storm hanging on a little longer than anticipated, the clouds will be slow to dissipate and will prevent radiational cooling from occurring. It's still going to be bitterly cold tonight, but not so cold as to debilitate diesel buses.

Happy Snow Day

Life is good. The Pats miraculously won the Super Bowl. The snow started falling just about on time last night. The snow continues to fall at a pretty good clip and will do so until later this afternoon. This storm actually is behaving the way weather experts thought it would behave. Superintendents are relaxed and know they made the right call. Students got to sleep in a little bit. It's a great day in the Berkshires.

At the GSD Home Office, we have about five inches of new snow. We even received a special weather statement about blizzard conditions for Northern Berkshire. The radar indicates we'll add another 3-5" throughout the day. The temperatures will max out today around 18 degrees.

A recent Weather Channel tweet--wow!
As for our freeze delay tomorrow, we're not very confident any more about it. The temps will only (!) get to negative low single digits--around -5 degrees--which is not anything too extreme.

What merits more attention is another snow event for Thursday. Right now the timing doesn't look great--midday through the evening hours--but we could see 3-5" when it is all said and done.

We'll keep an eye on it so you don't have to. Enjoy the day off if you have it.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Cancellations for Monday

The first cancellations are already in for Storm Trooper!

No other real change to the forecast. Snow will start before midnight and the heaviest snow fall will occur during the morning commute tomorrow with 1-2 inches per hour possible. A foot of snow is highly likely. 

Here's the list so far:

SNOW DAY:

North Adams
Adams-Cheshire
Florida
Richmond
Hancock
Hoosick Falls (NY)
Clarksburg
Mohawk Trail
Lee
Mount Greylock
Williamstown
Mount Anthony (VT)
BArT
Lanesborough
Central Berkshire
Pine Cobble
Northern Berkshire (McCann)
So. Berkshire
Berkshire Hills
MCLA
BCC
Lenox
Pittsfield