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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

First Week of February Update

Hello faithful snowhounds. The wait continues for the first big winter storm of 2015-16. Time is ticking!

We have good news and bad news. Let's get the bad news out of the way first.

Not a bad spring day for January 31st, was it? Temps hit the big 5-0 today. We'll see a slight cool down tomorrow and Tuesday (40s) before we're right back up into the mid 50s on Wednesday. Oh, and Wednesday? Heavy rain possible and windy. Winter in the Berkshires, 2016! Good times!

The rest of the week will be slightly cooler but still above freezing for our daily highs. The snowstorm drought continues.

The good news--and it's meager--is we could have a coastal storm late Sunday into Monday. One model is predicting potent snowstorm scenario; the other has the low pressure system going out to sea.

The GSD Staff can not express it more clearly how welcome a three-day weekend would be at this time of the year. Even though we have February vacation coming up, it's most unusual to go from December break to February break without at least one weather interruption.

We have advocated in this space in the past why the Monday after the Super Bowl would make for a better fit for Presidents' Day. Perhaps this is our year that Old Man Winter will make it a holiday for us.

Our desire for a snow day on February 8th is at 100%. The True North Confidence Meter, unfortunately, is at 2%.

We'll keep on an eye on it, of course, but do not get your hopes up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Crumb-y Winter Continues

A starving man doesn't complain when he's given crumbs, so we won't either.

There's a rumor that we have a chance that we might see snow on Friday! Can't you just feel the GSD Staff's enthusiasm!

(Yes, we will admit it. Things have been a little bitter in the office the past few weeks. Warm temps, no precipitation, terrible long-range forecasts. Everyone's a bit restless and cranky.)

But we do have some snow to make you aware of for Thursday and Friday. It won't impact the school day on Friday--no surprise there--but it could make for a messy Friday afternoon commute home.

We'll see an Alberta Clipper pass on by Thursday afternoon, and then many snow showers will fall in the Berkshires during the day on Friday. There are some indications that these showers could come down as heavier squalls and actually accumulate on roadways. Whoopee!

On the low end, we'll see a dusting; the high end outcome could yield 2 inches.

But we're back in the mid-40s for the weekend and possibly up to 50 on Monday.

A minor disturbance could develop for next Thursday, but it won't be a big weathermaker.

Stay hungry, Followers of the Flake.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Snow North and Snow South

We certainly missed out on all the fun this past weekend. We all know that Washington DC and New York City received record amounts of snow, but parts of Massachusetts did get clobbered, too. Unfortunately, those places are ones we more associate with presidential summer vacations, salt water taffy, and the movie Jaws. Martha's Vineyard received 15 inches of snow.

This week we were interested in two storms, but it looks like we are out of luck again. A system will impact the Adirondacks on Tuesday night, giving them upwards of 6 inches of snow. A coastal low looks to form later in the week (Friday) but it will slide harmlessly out to sea. Even more disconcerting is that the temperatures will rise above freezing (daytime highs) for the next week or so. We'll see mid 30s this week and then low 40s at the start of next week. Expect lots of clouds during the next eight days, but no snow will be falling from them in the Berkshires.

Things can change, but this week is already in the books. It's time to focus on the next week and then the week before February vacation. As of today, we have 14 more cracks at snow day before our next vacation. The probability is low that we will have a snow day or delay in those 14 days, but we are holding out hope that something wintery this way comes.

You can do it, Old Man Winter!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Stormless Winter Continues

Boy oh boy are we missing out on all the snow fun:

Image courtesy of The Weather Channel.
One of the more impressive aspects of this storm is how distinct the line is for the northern edge of this storm. A hundred mile shift could mean the difference between 0 inches and 4-6 inches. We might see an inch in Springfield on Saturday and up to 10 inches in New Haven.

Unfortunately, New England's "snowmageddon" is not right around the corner. Early next week temperatures will get back into those undesirable mid-40s before cooling back down to the mid-30s later in the week. We might have a little rain on Tuesday and then just some snow showers some time on Thursday. The moderate storm we were hoping to see develop for the end of next week now looks like it will not happen. Old Man Winter is still M.I.A.

This winter is truly going to test our patience. We do not at all like we're seeing from the long-range forecast for the next three-to-four weeks. The trend will be toward above average temperatures and normal amounts of precipitation. That would mean only a few small and moderate storms will impact our area with the snow/sleet/rain mess to contend with.

Don't be surprised if we make it to President's Day without any snow days. Argh.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Near Miss

Despite encouraging early signs from the computer models a few days ago, our "big storm" for the weekend will stay to our south. Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey could get demolished by snow, but we will stay nearly high and dry in the Berkshires.

The level of moisture and energy with this storm is very high. Heavy snow will debilitate the mid-Atlantic over the weekend. We could see close to two feet in parts of Virginia. If you are travelling that way, we might not see you for a while.

We could see a few flakes Saturday. The best chance of snow will be in southern Berkshire county, but we're looking at a dusting or perhaps a half inch. Because this storm is coming so close to us, a slight change in the track of the storm could an inch or two for us. The models are not forecasting a more northerly trend, but it's within the realm of possibility.

Sorry the news isn't better. But we have our eye on another late week storm for next week. Winter storms often do come in threes, and we're hoping this next one will steer itself our way.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Weekend Snow Storm

The GSD Staff is hard at work monitoring the first snowstorm of the season. Even though the storm will assuredly fall on the weekend, we're pretending that this storm is a midweek storm. We're out of practice and we need to get in our reps.

Before we start, be on the lookout for snow this afternoon (Tuesday). Conditions are right for a dusting.

So...let's say this storm were to fall on a Friday and not a Saturday. How would this storm be faring on the True North Confidence Meter? Right now we would set this storm at 25% for a snow day and 40% percent for a delay.

Here's what we know: (Again, there is no chance that this storm will affect the length of the school day on Friday. If anything, it could be a Saturday-into-Saturday-night storm. ) There's plenty of cold air in place. The storm will come out of the Tennessee valley and transfer its energy to a coastal storm. The coastal storm will move gradually up the east coast. One model has it sliding out to sea down near southern New Jersey. Another model pushes the low further to the north but ultimately pushing it out to sea near Cape Cod. We would prefer to see the second situation take place. The closer to the coast and the further north this storm goes, the better for the Berkshires.

Beside the disagreement about the track, there is also considerable disagreement about how much liquid will fall from the skies from this storm. The average of the models is about .4 inches for the Berkshires. If we put that total amount into our liquid to snow converter, we would end up with 4 or 5 inches of snow, which, if the timing were just right, would be enough to cancel school.

Even Accuweather thinks we'll be on the far edge of this storm. Image courtesy of Accuweather.
But based on how storms have been performing this winter (i.e. not performing, as in not existing), we are not particularly excited about Saturday's storm. We think only the less potent edge of the storm will impact our area before the storm slides out to sea south of Long Island. We will see 2-4 inches of powdery snow, with closer to 4 inches in South County and around 2 inches on the Mass/Vermont border. Yes, it's a Debby Downer forecast, but there should be enough on the ground on Saturday afternoon for at least a few hours of outdoor snow sports.

We really hope we're wrong, and we'll be the first to update you if the forecast changes in our favor.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Upcoming Week is Last Week but Colder

Greetings, readers. We hope you enjoyed the brief spell of snow we received yesterday morning. For a while there it actually looked like winter until the temps shot up into the 40s and melted the ground cover. At the GSD Home Office, we currently have zero snow cover. Hopefully that will end tonight.

This week is shaping up to look a lot like last week. The only difference is that this week will be significantly colder. Arctic air will pour into our region from central and northern Canada starting late tonight. We may see single digits early Tuesday and early Friday. Most days, though, will top out in the 20s and bottom out in the low teens.

And now the snow news. We do have another Alberta Clipper locked and loaded to our west. This one has a little more potency, and Winter Weather Advisories have been posted in areas just to our north and west for this evening. We should see 1-2 inches of the light powdery kind of snow starting around 9 PM. With MLK Jr. Day tomorrow, there will be no impact on schools in the Berkshires.

As for the rest of the week, once again the computer models are showing the possibility of a coastal storm for Friday night into Saturday. The good news: there will be enough cold air in place to make this an all-snow event. The bad news: the models are not sure if the storm will track far enough to the north to impact our area. Currently, both the North American and European models are leaning toward a coastal storm that will impact southern New England. If its path moves more to the north, then we could be in for a moderate (3-6 inches) storm.

Because it's a weekend storm, we're not focusing too much of our energy on it just yet, but we will certainly be monitoring its development closely. It has the potential to alter people's Saturday plans, in the morning especially.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Snowy Saturday Morning is Possible

It's a long weekend and it's late on a Friday night, but we need to alert you that there is an outside chance that the rain that had been forecasted for tomorrow (Saturday) could turn over to snow for an extended period of time and coat the Berkshires with a few inches of heavy, wet snow.

The weather experts are all over the place with this storm. Initially, everyone thought the storm would stay as all rain, as it did hit the low 40s earlier today and current temps (as of 10 PM) are still in the mid- to upper 30s.

But there are some signs that a colder nose of air will force its way into the region and turn the rain to snow in the morning hours tomorrow. We might see a few hours of snow between 9 AM and 1 PM. We're not talking about a blockbuster weather event, but it could make for very messy travel for a few hours tomorrow in the middle of the day as you're out and about doing your Saturday thing.

We need to remind you that tomorrow might just end up being a cold, rainy day. But there could be some snow and you need to be warned.

Drive safely should we see sleet and snow on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snow Squalls Continue

Thanks to an Alberta Clipper, we picked up about an inch of snow in the afternoon today. We'll have one more potent band of steady snow from about 10:30 to midnight Tuesday, then only intermittent flurries throughout the night and morning.

The 9:45 PM radar. The band of snow west of Albany will move into the Berkshires around 10:30.
Because of the fast spinning movement of this storm, we will not see any prolonged periods of snow feeding in from the north that we sometimes get after a clipper stalls out on the coast. Winds will pick up also, essentially blowing the snow right out of our region.

School will go on as scheduled tomorrow morning. We see only the slightest of slight chances of a delay. We should see intermittent snow showers throughout the day on Wednesday.

Light Snow Today

The Alberta Clipper is still on track to impact the Berkshires today. The ride home from school could be a little slippery. New drivers will need to take caution as they make their way home after school or after practice.

Other than a few stray snow bands in the early morning hours of Wednesday, most of the snow will wrap up by 11 PM tonight. We don't expect more than an inch or two of light, powdery snow.

The rest of the week looks like normal winter conditions. We might see a stray lake effect snow from the west, but no accumulating snow will impact the Berkshires until possibly Friday night.

We are eyeing a coastal system for Friday. The big issue with this storm is how warm it will be. Forecasting models are not in agreement at this time whether it will be all snow, a mixed bag, or mostly rain. The timing looks to be Friday night into Saturday. There is much more moisture expected with this event than today's, so a moderate to heavy snowfall is possible for our Saturday morning wake-up.

Take it slow this afternoon!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Light Snow on Tuesday

After a major rain storm yesterday, we are experiencing a good, ol' fashioned blustery winter day today. There were a few flakes flying out there earlier this morning, but the window of opportunity for squalls is pretty much over for the day.

The good news to report is that we will see snow over the next 24 to 48 hours. The bad news is that no coastal low pressure systems will form, thus keeping our snow totals down to an inch or two.

Here's a good graphic of the Alberta Clipper's projected path across our area on Tuesday. Thanks, Accuweather.
The Alberta Clipper will zip across our area tomorrow. We could have a few hours of sustained snow in the middle of the day, and then Tuesday night into Wednesday we will see lake effect-type snow squalls. Some of these squalls could produce a quick half inch of snow.

At this point, we see only the smallest of chances of the opening of school being delayed on Wednesday. We'll keep an eye on it, but you should certainly set your alarm for its usual time on Hump Day.

Our potential storm for the weekend is also losing its steam. We again will see snow later in the weekend, but there is a chance that rain will mix in. We'll zero in on that storm once we get through the next few days.

Snow or no snow, we do have a three-day weekend coming up. So at least we have that going for us.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Storms Are A-Brewin'

It's a little early for the hype machine to get chugging along, but we're hearing rumblings about two possible storms for next week.

First, this weekend. We'll see a little snow, sleet, and possible freezing drizzle Friday night into Saturday. There won't be a Winter Weather Advisory with this storm because it simply lacks moisture. But it could create slick roads through the early part of the morning tomorrow. For Sunday we're still slated for a significant rain storm. Any progress the ski resorts have made will be halted. The big thing to watch out for on Sunday is high wind.

Now the more encouraging news. Some of our insider weather contacts are sending us signals that we could be in for a snow-stormy week. A cold front will descend from central Canada starting on Tuesday. We will see an Alberta Clipper associated with this cold front. (Just a refresher--clippers generally do not bring heavy snowfall. Usually, clippers drop 2-3 inches of light, powdery snow.) There is some talk from some of our more optimistic meteorologist friends that the clipper could hit the coast and intensify right off the coast of southern New England. Should that scenario take place, central New England could be in for a moderate snow storm (4-6"). The timing for this storm would be Tuesday into Wednesday, giving us a legitimate chance for a delay or snow day. We're confident the clipper will happen; we're much less confident the coastal piece will develop. But we're definitely paying attention to it.

The louder rumblings we're hearing are about a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day storm. The way that the jet streams are shaping up could lead to the right conditions for a coastal, nor'easter-type storm for New England. There would be enough cold air in place for an all snow event Monday. We are really, really hoping this scenario develops and that it slows down so that Tuesday's school day is impacted. I'm sure there a few readers out there who would not mind a four-day weekend at all.

Things are busy in the GSD Office. The collective ear is to the ground; the collective nose is to the grindstone; the collective eye is on the prize. Whatever comes our way, we'll be ready and you'll be the first to hear about it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Weekend Weathermaker

Despite the brutally cold mornings this week, Old Man Winter is still having a tough time getting a firm footing in the Berkshires for the start of 2016.

The forecast is still for a mess this weekend. Unfortunately--this is a word we're using far too frequently this winter--we'll see more rain than snow by the end of the weekend. Friday night into Saturday morning will give us our best chance of snow, but there's not a lot of moisture associated with this disturbance (a tenth of an inch) and it will change to rain by late morning. Expect sleet to mix in as well. We might see the roads coated with some form of ice and snow Saturday morning, and it's likely you will not even need your shovel to deal with it. Roads will be slippery, though, for those Saturday morning errands.

Another disturbance will move into the Berkshires on Sunday, but this one will be all rain. Make that lots of rain. One to two inches have been forecasted for Sunday. Sunday sounds like a great day to enjoy some playoff football or catch up on a movie you didn't get to over the holiday vacation. Outdoor activities will be miserable.

We're still hopeful about the possibility of a more substantial snow event for the middle of next week. With a blast of cold air moving in from Canada, we'll have the chance for a measurable snow on Tuesday or Wednesday. There's not a lot of confidence with this prediction--we're trying to give you something to latch on to--but an inch or two is not out of the realm of possibility.

Keep hope alive.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Messy Weekend Ahead

Congratulations, of sorts, are in order for today's weather. We will not go above freezing for a daytime high today. This marks the latest we've ever gone into a winter season without having a day below 32 degrees. This record should not be too surprising given that we broke the latest measurable snow record at the end of December.

We laid out the rest of the week in our last post, but the GSD Staff wants to prepare you for a messy weekend of inclement weather. We could see precipitation starting Friday night that lasts all the way into Sunday.

There is a lot of meteorological confusion about what shape this next storm will take. Unfortunately, it won't be a major snow event and it will be confined to the weekend. A best case scenario right now is that it starts out with a few inches of snow Friday night, changes to sleet and rain on Saturday, and then returns back to snow for a few more inches on Sunday when a secondary low forms on the coast. Not all of the models are predicting this order of events--several do not have the secondary coastal low forming at all.

Just keep the rubberized boots handy, and we'll let you know more as we get closer to Friday.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Monday Cold Slap

Happy 2016, Snowhounds!

Unfortuntately, vacation is over and it's time to head back to school and work tomorrow. And to compound the pain, we will be greeted with the coldest temperature we've felt since last March. The temperature will be the warmest of the day--a balmy 20 degrees--when you wake up tomorrow. Gradually, it will creep down throughout the afternoon before it bottoms out at 6 degrees on Tuesday morning. Bust out the face mask! (And no, don't even go there--a freeze delay is out of the question. If you're thinking those thoughts, you have a serious problem.)

Tuesday will be seasonably cold--mid-20s--but not as bad as Monday. The El Nino influence kicks back in again on Wednesday when we return to this years's seasonal norm of mid-40 temps.

And here's some even better news (said sarcastically): The next weather-maker for us could arrive Friday night. The models are in great disagreement, but one of them predicts a minor snow, sleet, and freezing rain event that would last into Saturday. Alas.

We're not optimistic that this storm will come to fruition, but one thing is certain: the dry pattern has changed, and we'll see several more opportunities for minor storms over the next three weeks. It will be gloomy more days than not, but that will increase the threat of snow.

Until the next time...