Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week of March 30: Snow Still In the Forecast

It's nearly April and we're still seeing plenty of opportunities in the forecast for snow events. All of the upcoming chances for snow will be minor and not impact school in any way, but they are still worth writing about.

Winter will just not quit. Here's what's in store this week:

*A chance of half-inch or so tonight (Sunday). The overnight snow could resemble the snow we received on Saturday. Roads will be fine (except in the higher elevation spots) but we could see it stick on the grassy/snowy areas.

*Thursday night we will see a chance at rain or snow. This threat is less clear, and if we get precipitation at all, it will be very light.

*Friday night into Saturday could be snowy. Even though the temps will hit 50+ degrees on Friday, we could see snow Friday night into Saturday morning. The models are in disagreement about this surge of moisture, so you'll have to check in later in the week for more details about it.

*Easter Sunday looks cold but precipitation free.

We still believe there will be at least one more close call for a delay or snow day before Winter is finally over.  With temps staying below average this long into March, that threat of a potent spring snow storm is higher than most years. It looks like we'll have at least two more weeks of this cooler than normal weather before a major warm-up in mid-April.

Keep those galoshes handy this week!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Little Snow Is On the Way

We have had a quiet, cold week, but why not end it with a little snow?

A coastal low will make its way into our area that will leave its wintery mark. It will not be a direct hit, but eventually snow will overspread our area by tomorrow night.

We have to admit we've been a little distracted from all the March Madness bracketology lately, but we promise you we've been monitoring the weather situation. And Old Man Winter just does not want to give it up for the season.

Here's what we expect tomorrow...

Three inches in South County and one or two up North by the GSD Home Office. Driving around tomorrow night will be slow. Tomorrow's ride back home from school could be messy for South County schools. It should hold off for all schools north of Pittsfield after the afternoon bus runs. It's possible some schools in South County will cancel afternoon activities.

We think this timing map from Accuweather is mostly accurate.
Other than tomorrow night's snow, we see no big storms out there that will reach our area. If you're tired of winter, then you won't like the forecast. Next week is slated to be unseasonably cool once again. Skiers, on the other hand, are rejoicing and should be able to get another week of their sport in (at least).

Have a great weekend and travel safely tomorrow afternoon and evening.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Freezing Rain Advisory/Late Week Snow?

Don't be surprised tomorrow morning if you find a light glaze of ice on your car and especially on your driveway. All of Berkshire County has been issued a Freezing Rain Advisory. This advisory might be more of a precaution than an out-and-out concern, but it's good to be forewarned, isn't it? We don't think it's going to slow down too many folks.

Any precipitation we see this weekend should be in the form of rain. We'll see light rain overnight--thus the potential for freezing rain--and that rain could be with us through noon. There will be a letup in the afternoon, then we have another round of showers in store for Saturday night. We could see a few snow showers mix in Saturday night and Sunday morning. The threat of a Sunday night storm that we mentioned earlier in the week is no longer a threat.

So, we're looking at a fairly gray and wet weekend, with around average temperatures, but we are not expecting heavy rain, which is good for any flooding concerns people might have.

Despite the mild weather we've experienced (alright, enjoyed) this past week, temps are heading south again for next week. We'll be in the 30s most of the week, which is a few degrees below normal. Nights will be cold (upper teens and low 20s).

We do have the potential for a Thursday/Friday snowstorm--the temperatures will be cold enough to support an all snow event. Right now it's a coastal low that looks like it will miss us to the south, but the potential exists for a more northerly track, which would impact our area.

Anybody up for more snow?

Monday, March 9, 2015

End of Weekend Storm?

It's almost blasphemous to admit it, but that bright sun sure felt good today. We'll have a few more enjoyably mild, sunny days this week to enjoy. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 40s during the day and in the 20s (on average) at night. The only precipitation we see this week is a small chance of a brief rain shower Tuesday night.

As for snow, we actually have some news to report. We've heard rumblings about the possibility of the development of a coastal storm on Sunday that could very well impact school on Monday. It's way too early to give you any solid info on this storm, but because this week will be so dreadfully dull on the weather front, at least it's something to pique or interest.

If it does develop in our favor, we think there could be moderate to heavy precipitation. What form that precipitation takes is a mystery at this point in the proceedings.

We'll have much more to report in a few days when the computer models start to give us more consistent information. Perhaps this will be Winter's last gasp?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Have We Turned the Corner?

While the South and Mid-Atlantic had a very active winter weather week, the Berkshires were uncharacteristically quiet, which could signal that Old Man Winter has started packing his things and will be vacating our area soon.

We still saw the temperature go below zero a few times this week, but the storm pattern has definitely changed and quieted down for us.

We're hearing from most of our sources that temperatures in March are expected to be normal or above average for the month. For the Berkshires, high 30s is the norm right now; high 40s is the expectation by the end of the month.

Given the forecast, you may actually see the grass on your lawn in two or three weeks. Temperatures are forecasted to get above freezing for the next ten days, and we do not have any major storms in the pipeline. Conditions are looking very, very good for the maple syrup producers.

You know that we'll see at least one more significant snowfall before it's all said and done, and that storm could come as late as May 1. With the winter we've had, we will not at all be surprised if we get one more doozy of a storm.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

WWA Shortened

The first flakes of our fast-moving storm started falling around 3:45 at the GSD Home Office, about 45 minutes earlier than we predicted this morning. We do know that it started much earlier than that down in South County, which caused some schools to cancel after school activities.

Expect light and even moderate snow throughout the night. The bulk of the snow will wrap up before midnight. We should get 2-3" by the time it ends.

Bad news for the delays tomorrow. The NWS shortened the Winter Weather Advisory period by four hours. Instead of it ending at 10 AM tomorrow, it now ends at 6. What this really means is that most of the moisture (the sleet and freezing rain) should come to an end around 3 AM. Town road crews will have plenty of time to deal with this mess.

Temps could hit 40 tomorrow. Black ice could be a problem tomorrow evening and also Thursday morning. There may also be a period of light snow in South County Thursday morning, which could complicate the morning commute for schools south of Lee.

Drive safely this evening.

Snow This Afternoon

Based on our evaluation of the current radar images, we should see snow start to fall around 4:30 this afternoon, give or take a half hour.

The 6:30 AM radar. The snow (blue) and sleet (pink) are moving in an east-north-east direction. We do not like the absence of moisture behind the sleet, which is why we've lowered snow totals.
Similar to Sunday's storm, this one is not particularly well organized. The NWS is forecasting 2-5" for the Berkshires, with higher amounts in North County and lower totals in South County. Still, we won't be surprised if the actual range we eventually see in the Berkshires is between 1 and 3 inches.

Temps will warm up throughout the day into the mid to upper 20s, then settle a few degrees after the sun sets. Then we'll see a gradual rise of the temperatures after midnight, which is when the period of sleet and freezing rain will occur. Forecasters do not project a lot of ice with this storm--a tenth of an inch or less--but that's certainly enough for road crews to have to treat the roads.

Because we think snow totals will be fairly low with this storm, we're lowering our True North Confidence Meter right now. We still think there will be a few delays tomorrow, but fewer than half of Berkshire schools will benefit from a delay.

Also, we are more confident that high school tournament basketball games will be played this evening as scheduled.

Monday, March 2, 2015

2014-15 True North/GSD Writing Contest Winners (Finally!)

[For details on the current weather situation for tomorrow afternoon and Wednesday morning, click here.]

The verdict is in. After months of deliberation, the Staff at GSD has finally reached consensus. We are pleased to announce that this year's winner of the True North Financial/Greylock Snow Day Writing Competition 2014-15 is avid follower Katie Parks, a junior at Taconic High School. Here is her delightful song parody, and we look forward to revisiting it in the upcoming years to cheer us up:

We also have awarded prizes to two Runners Up. Mount Greylock seniors Eric Hirsch and Ian Brink used "Let It Snow" for their winning tune and comic video, and Mount Greylock seniors Andrew Whitaker and Jake and Sam Kobrin based their creatively revised lyrics on Band Aid's "Feed the World." All three winners exceeded our expectations.

We thank all participants in the competition for their entries, and we look forward to challenging your writing skills again next year!

Winter Weather Advisory for Tuesday Night & Wednesday Morning

We alerted you to a midweek weather disturbance a few days ago, and it looks like the storm will impact our area starting tomorrow afternoon.

The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of the Berkshires starting at 3 PM. We like the fact that the Advisory ends at 10 AM Wednesday, which means we could see problematic driving conditions during the morning commute.

Before you get too excited, though, check out this graphic from Paul Caiano over at Channel 13 in Albany:

You can see that this storm is not slated to produce a robust snow total. We really hope the Euro model (ECMWF) comes through. If we can get four inches and add in some early morning ice, then we'll see many delays in the county for Wednesday morning.

Don't forget that ice storms are some of the hardest to predict. A half degree change in the temperature or a 30 mile change in the storm track can make a huge difference. We'll do our best to try to provide a realistic prediction for Wednesday morning.


Initially we felt confident that this minor storm would not postpone the high school basketball tournament games down at UMass, but now we're not so sure. The Advisory now includes Amherst, so those games are now in jeopardy of being moved to another night. Tournament officials would be wise to wait until tomorrow morning to get a better sense of the timing and severity of the snow.

Delay(s) for Monday

Yes, we have at least one delay in Berkshire County this morning. Should we get more, we'll update the list below. But road crews have been hard at work throughout the night and they seem to have most roads under control.



As for the midweek storm, we're liking delays for schools on Wednesday more and more. We'll see 3-4 inches of snow Tuesday night then several hours of icing--sleet and freezing rain--from 3 AM to 7 AM. We will likely see a Winter Weather Advisory issued for Berkshire County, but not a Winter Storm Watch or Warning.

Complicating matters is a scheduled half-day for teacher professional development on Wednesday for some schools in the county.

Much more to come on our snow/ice storm later tonight.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Storm Update

The snow started falling earlier than expected today--around 10 AM at GSD Headquarters--but it has since stopped. It will resume later this afternoon, with about 2-3" the likely outcome for most in the County.

We are getting some coastal development from this storm, which means that South County could now be the beneficiaries of a higher snowfall total. Up to 6" is now predicted for those south of I-90.

Looking at the radar, we've noticed the storm is not particularly well developed. The snow is starting to fill in more as it gains some energy from the ocean, but this storm isn't simply going to be a big snow maker. We will lower the True North Confidence Meter for delays as a result.

As for Tuesday night's storm, we're almost certain now that there will be mixed precipitation involved. So even though snow totals will not be that high--3-5" expected--the addition of ice at dawn on Wednesday could certainly generate many delays for the day.

We'll keep you posted with any new developments for both of our storms.

Here's a some fascinating data from NWS Albany:

We actually had less snow than an average February, about 12" fewer than normal. But the cold temps more than made up for the loss of those inches. What we just experienced this past February is one of the coldest months ever. We may not experience another month with such sustained cold in our lifetimes. But, with climate change causing more and more extreme and anomalous weather events, perhaps next winter we'll experience an even colder month. Or this summer we'll have the hottest July ever. Who is to say these days.