Wednesday, December 30, 2015

No Storms in Sight

The first snow storm of the 2015-16 season performed about as expected. We ended up with 1.25 inches of snow at the GSD Home Office with another half inch of sleet tacked on. Had schools been in session, we would have seen many initial calls for two-hour delays, but then some Superintendents would have changed their minds and made Tuesday a full snow day. As always with ice, it would have been a hit-or-miss, confusing morning.

We see no storms on the horizon. Rats. Temperatures will be in the high 30s for the rest of the week and then a shot of cold air moves into the Berkshires for the return to school and work on Monday. Highs on Monday will not reach 30. Alas, though, no snow is attached to this cold front.

The GSD Staff has its eyes and ears wide open. We are back to work and eager for more action. The good news is that the next storm we will see will likely impact the school day in some fashion. Can't wait!

2014-2015 Snow Totals

2014-15 Snow History

Nov. 13/14: 1.7"
Nov. 17: 0.4"
Nov. 26/27: 11.0"
Nov. 27/28: 0.9"
Nov. 29: 0.2"
Dec. 5: 0.6"
Dec. 11: 3.2"
Dec. 12: 0.4"
Dec. 21: trace
Jan. 7: 0.2
Jan. 9: 2.2
Jan. 13: 4.5
Jan. 24: 1.8
Jan. 30: 5.0
Feb. 3: 12.5
Feb. 5: 6.0
Feb. 9: 8.1
Feb. 12: 0.5
Feb. 15: 4.1
Feb. 21: 4.5
Mar. 2: 1.0
Mar. 3: 2.1
Mar. 20: 1.0
Mar. 28: 0.8

Season Total: 72.8"

Monday, December 28, 2015

Messy Tuesday Morning

Despite the low snow totals for this first storm of the season, it still should provide plenty of travel headaches for the first half of the day on Tuesday.

Courtesy of Accuweather. GSD agrees with this assessment.
Expect the snow to start between 8 and 9 PM tonight. Lower accumulations (1-2 inches) are expected in South County tonight, but the sleet will kick in around 2-3 AM for everyone in the area. The period of sleet will extend through the morning commute, and then we'll see all rain (10ish), with some of it freezing on surfaces initially. The bulk of the precipitation should end by 1 PM on Tuesday.

There just might be enough snow for a little sledding tomorrow. Hopefully, the rain won't move in too quickly and kill all the fun.

But plan your road travel in the morning accordingly. Consider hanging out at home and playing with your new holiday toys or diving into that book you got in your stocking. The roads should be fine by the afternoon.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Winter Weather Advisory for Monday Night/Tuesday

While it hasn't officially been announced yet, expect NOAA to announce our first Winter Weather Advisory for the season later tonight or tomorrow morning. WWAs usually mean less than 6 inches of snow.

Unfortunately, this storm will not be a big snow producer. What it will produce is a giant mess for those commuting to work on Tuesday morning. The snow--starting around midnight Monday--will come down for a few hours before changing over to sleet before the morning commute. The sleet will continue for an hour or two before we shift to all rain. Any accumulating snow--2 to 4 inches--will likely get washed out by the end of the day on Tuesday, which is bad news for skiers. Expect to see temps in the mid and upper 30s on Tuesday, explaining the changeover to rain.

Don't forget that earlier this fall we predicted that these types of storms would be the norm for this winter because of el nino. Without the cold air firmly in place, we're going to have to get used to snow/sleet/rain events. The silver lining is that these kinds of events are often better for school cancellations because of A) their unpredictability and B) the threat of ice. Road crews, Superintendents and bus companies all hate ice.

More to follow tomorrow, but look for the announcement of that Winter Weather Advisory.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rain Sunday, Snow Monday Night, Sleet Tuesday

Welcome back, dear readers. Everything is still on track for a plowable snowstorm for Tuesday. We'll have to endure a rainy, mild Sunday before we get to the good stuff on Monday night.

The North American model is leading the charge for a more moderate snow event. The Canadian and European are predicting a faster changeover to all rain on Tuesday.

Here's how it will likely play out: snow will start later on Monday night and continue to fall through Tuesday morning; by mid-morning we'll see and hear sleet mixing in, and then the storm will change to all rain by Tuesday night.

We do not have a firm reading on when the storm will start yet, but Monday evening athletic contests in the Berkshires should be safe from postponement and/or cancellation.

The sleet will hold snow totals down. GSD Staff consensus is that we'll see about 4 inches of snow before the sleet and rain come in to compact the snow down to a few inches. Sadly for all those cross country skiing enthusiasts, it doesn't look as if there will be enough of a base for skiing on Wednesday (without damaging your skis). Temps are supposed to slide back into the 40s on Wednesday and Thursday.

Maybe the forecast will swing more in the positive direction, but even in the best case scenario this storm is not a blockbuster. Tuesday's commute to work will be dicey, but roads should be treated by the end day.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Significant Snowstorm for Tuesday?

Encouraging news continues to come in from our various weather news outlets about our storm on Tuesday. Even though there is no snow day possibility for this one, we're nonetheless very excited about it in GSD land.

Our significant snow storms are usually one variety or another. The first kind comes up out of the Gulf of Mexico/Southeast and gains intensity on the coast. These storms are our nor'easters. The second kind of storm comes from central Canada and the Great Lakes region, slides across the Northeast, then re-forms--usually picking up lots of moisture--on the Atlantic coast. Our storm on Tuesday will be the second type of storm.

This second type of storm is often less predictable because of A) the place where the secondary low reforms and B) how long it takes for the low to move out of our region after it reforms. Sometimes the re-formed low can get blocked in and more or less pump snow into New England. Also, the counterclockwise motion of the low pressure system typically drags cold air in from the north. The longer the low stays on the coast, the colder it stays and the more snow we'll get.

So...what's a likely scenario for Tuesday? Some meteorologists' analyses of the computer models indicate that the low will re-form on the coast late Monday night and take its time moving out. We could see snow totals in the 6-9 inch range. But it won't be that cold--high twenties--so the threat of sleet is ever present and that could keep snow totals down.

Here are a few maps to consider:

Thanks, Accuweather!

And then there's this one:

Thanks, NOAA!
This large map shows that we could get around an inch of liquid precipitation with this storm. If we offer up a modest 10 to 1 snow to liquid ratio (a rational thing to do because of the relatively warm temperatures), you can do the math and realize that we'll have to get friendly with our snow shovels for this first time this season.

Life is good. It's Christmas. We're on vacation. Family and friends are around. And GSD is back in business, baby. How sweet it is.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


At long last, we finally have some good news to report on the flake front. Starting Monday evening and lasting through the day on Tuesday, the Berkshires should see its first measurable snow of this (already) lamest winter ever. 

Early reports of 3-5 inches sound about right, based on the information the storm-starved GSD Staff has gathered. 

The big question for this storm will be if sleet mixes in, thus keeping snow totals down. Worst case scenario--right now--is for about an inch of snow then slushy rain. Best case scenario would be the cold gets trapped in our area and we end up with half a foot. 

Either way, we finally have something fun to talk about at GSD Headquarters. 

We'll have much more to report about this storm in the next few days. 

Happy Holidays!