Thursday, March 31, 2016

Now It's a Monday Storm

The more we're looking at this snowstorm potential, the more the GSD Staff is now considering Monday as the target day for a snow day.

There is still A LOT that can go wrong with this storm--in fact, we should probably expect everything to go wrong with this storm--but it's looking like the snow could start as early as Monday morning. That would mean Monday is very much in play for a potential snow day.

For that to happen, we would need the following to happen:

1. Predicted snowfall of at least 4-6 inches.
2. A storm window that lasts at least until late afternoon.
3. A predicted start time of 7 or 8 AM.

If these conditions are met, then the chance for a snow day could be higher than a regular evening snowfall where we wait for the morning to see if the roads are fine. If superintendents know a moderate snowfall is coming, they might be reluctant to put buses on the road during an afternoon commute that has the potential to be very messy. Plus, because there are plenty of snow days still on the shelves, superintendents might be willing break one out and throw everyone a bone.

Those really desperate for a snow day, you need to start rooting for this storm to begin in the morning on Monday.

We'll know more tomorrow night.

April Snow Storms (No Foolin')

We've consulted the weather oracles, and the high priests and priestesses are still cautiously optimistic about a moderate to heavy snow storm for Tuesday. Very little has changed since yesterday.

There does seem to be a good deal of uncertainty about Sunday's snow. Most signs show just a chance for intermittent snow showers, but some of the recent runs of the model are indicating a more prolonged period of snow Sunday morning. No matter what happens on Sunday in the Berkshires, the totals will not be very high, perhaps 1-3 inches.

As for Tuesday's storm, take a look at this map:

Courtesy of NOA.
This map shows how much liquid precipitation we're supposed to get through Tuesday. If this map proves to be accurate, we're in the 0.6" range. If we convert that liquid to snow, we're looking at 6 inches, plus or minus an inch. A 5-7 inch snowstorm--if it were timed right--would most assuredly cancel school for the day.

One thing that's certain about the storm for Tuesday: it will be cold enough for all snow. No changeover is expected, which is also something we haven't been able to say about many storms this year.

We'll have more about this intriguing situation tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

April Snow Showers Bring...Glee? Rage? Indifference?

Having just written the obituary for Winter 2015-16, the GSD Office is suddenly back in action and in full storm forecasting mode. No, we are not testing out our new Thunderstorm Prediction Machine. We're looking at bona fide snow events. That's right. Plural.

After months of warm temperatures, it looks like the first week of April will look more like the first week of February. Temperatures will plummet after Thursday (highs in the upper 60s!) and become decidedly frigid and wintery by Sunday. Friday and Saturday will be very manageable (50s), but the cold front zips in on Saturday night, along with it the possibility for a few inches of snow late Saturday and early Sunday. Higher terrains in the Berkshires could see up to 4 inches. By Monday morning, temps will be in the mid-teens.

But the bigger news--because it could involve school closures--is a larger storm expected for Monday night into Tuesday. From our various weather sources, we have encountered the words "moderate to heavy snow event" in association with this storm. Great googly moogly!

We know, we know. We've been down this road before this year. We completely understand your skepticism. The only thing different about this storm--and it's not insignificant--is that the Euro and North American models are all already in agreement about the size of this storm. We'll just have to wait and see, but there might be something special about this storm.

We're on it and will be updating daily.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Freezing Drizzle Possible

We could see freezing drizzle in Berkshire County tonight between midnight and 6 AM tomorrow morning. While it is highly, highly unlikely, we could see a random delay tomorrow if conditions end up worse than is expected. There's not too much evidence that the forecast will worsen (in our favor).

Precipitation will be light. The best chance for freezing drizzle is in higher elevations and in areas north of Pittsfield. So take it easy out there tomorrow morning if you have to scrape your car.

We're not out of the woods yet for winter weather, but you know we're always looking for it.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

One More Monday Snow Update

For those truly desperate for a snow day tomorrow, one more post:

You may have seen that the storm track has edged farther west than forecasters originally thought yesterday. While that is certainly true, it won't be enough to generate a snow day. There is the outside-est of outside chances that we'll see a delay in southern Berkshire County. If there's a delay, it will be South Berkshire because they might get an inch or so.

For the rest of us, we might see a dusting somewhere between 2 AM and 6 AM. If only this storm had come through with even a moderate snowfall because the timing would have been perfect. Alas.

Enjoy the spring temperatures. Forties Monday and Tuesday then we'll see 50 by Wednesday.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

And There She Goes

We are now taking names for the Winter of 2015-16. Leading candidates:

Winter 2015-16: The UnWinter
Non-Winter 2015-16, Sponsored by El Nino
Winter 2015-16: Four Seasons Are, Like, So Overrated.
Winter 2015-16: At Least We Won't Have Classes in July!
Winter 2015-16: You're Hilarious, Mother Nature.
Winter 2015-16: (Whatever.)

Here's the latest on our big Monday storm.

Thanks, Accuweather! (Feel free to read the exclamation mark as facetious.)
Going, going, gone!

We deeply apologize for getting your hopes up. We'll see you in August for a Super Long-Range Forecast for the Winter of 2016-17!

(Actually--bitterness aside--we'll probably post a few times before then. We're still in the snow window for this year. And it's been a few years since we've had a good April snowstorm. Perhaps we're due. In the meantime, enjoy another full week of school. Only four more weeks until April vacation.)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Rein In Your Enthusiasm

Overnight the GSD Staff received bad news. The storm that will affect us Sunday night into Monday is looking like it wants to journey farther to the south and east. This means less liquid precipitation over our area, which means less snow.

Realistically, snow lovers need to readjust their thinking and hope there's enough snow for a delay. We definitely think there will be snow Sunday night, but based on what we're hearing from our sources, there will only be about a third of an inch of liquid precipitation connected with this storm. This means four inches or fewer. Rats.

We're not giving up hope, though. The Euro and North American models are starting to come into agreement, but still a few runs of the models give us a big storm. Again, all it takes is a 50 mile shift in the track of the storm and we could hit the jackpot.

For now, take it down a notch and wait for more precise information later today and tomorrow. There will be changes yet to the forecast.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Latest Info on Monday's Storm

NOAA Albany Forecast Discussion: "Noreaster."

Weather Channel:

Accuweather meteorologist and Northeast weather expert Bernie Rayno (via Twitter): "I don't think there is a way out of snowstorm for New England."

Gas up the snowblower.

Latest Models: The Predicted Swath of Snow Moves West

As we (sort of) predicted last night, the models have operated in their typical fashion and have flip-flopped. They are now once again predicting a moderate or even heavy snow for our area for Sunday night into Monday. Yes, the storm is back on.

No one really wants the snow, but who's going to pass up a snow day? If it's going to snow this late in the season, it might as well generate a three-day weekend.

Here's a tasty looking projection map from the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center:

Thanks, NWSWPS.
It's very encouraging at this stage in the developments. The GSD Staff is certainly excited, but everyone needs to keep expectations in check. We shouldn't forget that it's been a terrible winter for snow lovers, and these trends tend to stay consistent throughout an entire season.

The big discrepancies with the projections for this storm are with the amount of precipitation. The projections range from .25 inches to 1 inch of liquid precipitation. This roughly means anywhere between 3 and 12 inches of snow for us. Hopefully in the next 24 or 48 hours we'll be able to give you more specific information about just how much liquid should fall from the skies with this storm.

The other thing we know is that the storm will be relatively fast-moving. Right now we're guessing a 6 PM Sunday to 12 PM Monday window for the snow, which is just about perfect for a snow day should there even be enough snow.

Before you get too excited, though, here's your meteorological wet blanket: A jig or jog in the track of the storm by as little as 50 miles will greatly how much snow we get, so this storm is anything but a certainty.

But it is fun to talk about, and you know we'll have more info tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Monday Storm Update

We've checked our go-to weather forecasting resources, and the current trend is that this storm is only going to graze us. And most people sound like they'd rather see spring than a last gasp from Old Man Winter on Monday anyway, so it might work out for the best.

As of today, Accuweather is not favoring snow for our area.
Still...history has shown that the pattern with the computer models is as follows: 1) the models show a big storm hitting our area six or seven days in advance of the storm. 2) The models become less clear four or five days before the storm and forecasters get cold feet. 3) Two or three days before the storm the models re-establish the original forecast for the storm and weather people get excited once again.

So, what we're saying is that there's still a chance the storm could take a more westerly track and give us a good six inches of snow on Monday. We are not at all saying that we think that will happen, but there's about a 20% chance of a moderate snowfall occurring.

But the evidence is suggesting that the storm is tracking farther to the east than snow lovers would like.

Just an FYI: don't be alarmed if you see a few flakes in the afternoon and evening on Friday. A very light accumulation is possible once the temperatures get to freezing.

We'll have more tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Keep the Winter Boots Handy...

As soon as we posted our "spring has sprung" declaration, we kind of knew this would happen. You've probably heard about it already, but there is a 50/50 chance for a significant snow storm on Sunday night into Monday. If the storm does what it is currently forecasted to do, we could be looking at widespread snow days in our region on Monday.

Of course Monday is the first day that high school students can begin spring sports. Wouldn't it be just like Old Man Winter to mess with us in this fashion?

The ingredients should be in place for a storm. The temperature will cool back down toward freezing over the weekend. A storm is supposed to form in the southeast and track up the coast. The current projected swath of wintery precipitation is from Washington DC on up, including all of New England.

But once bitten, twice shy. The North American model takes the storm farther east out to sea. The Euro model put the path closer to the coast (which would mean a significant snow storm). It's far too early for anyone to know which path the storm will take.

At this point, most people seem ready to move on to spring and be done with winter. Yet, we're sure there won't be too many complaints from students if they get a three-day weekend. Either way, we're on the case and will update with reliable information as soon as more of it comes in from our weather sources.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Possible Sleet Alert

Despite the amazing run of spring-like temperatures we've been enjoying for the last week, we do need to alert you to the chance of some sleet tomorrow (Monday) morning. The sleet will not delay school--not this year!--but don't be surprised if you see a few frozen bits in the air tomorrow.

The rest of the week is looking very mild (mid 50s, mostly) but wet. As good as everyone was feeling this past Wednesday--the high hit 75 at the GSD Home Office!--we could be seeing some serious weather grouchiness by the end of the week because of all the rain and grey skies.

The long-term forecast does not show a return to more seasonable temperatures. What it does show, though, is a possible big storm for Sunday night into Monday with that chance that frozen precipitation would be involved. We'll see.

It's looking more and more like we will put up a big goose egg for delays, snow days, or early releases for most schools in Berkshire County. It's almost unfathomable. But we will not be surprised at all if we see a snow storm in the next five weeks or so. We've had high snow totals all the way into May in the past.

If we can get a foot of snow in a storm in October, we can certainly see the same result on the back end of the winter months. We aren't predicting it--especially because of the strong influence of El Nino this year--but there is a mathematical chance.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ultra-Light Snow Possible Tomorrow Morning

You may have heard that snow will fall in our area tonight. You may even remember that we wrote about this possible snow earlier in the week.

Alas, it's a coastal storm that will barely hit us. The best chances for snow are in the southern Berkshire County. The time frame for this snow is between 1 AM and 11 AM. If we get an inch out of this storm we'll be very, very surprised. Delays are highly unlikely.

Expect each day to get gradually warmer through Wednesday and on that day we have an outside shot of hitting 70 degrees! Break out the shorts! Also in that period the chances for precipitation is very slim.

Spring appears right around the corner. (And we hope we just jinxed ourselves.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Not Feeling It

We just took one more gander at the radar and we're not liking what we're seeing, if we're going to get delays tomorrow.

First, we would be remiss to mention that it's still nearly 40 degrees at 9:15! The temperature actually went up the last few hours. Not a good sign number one.

Not a good sign number 2:

The 9:20 PM radar on Tuesday.
It just doesn't look as if the brunt of the storm is going to impact our are long enough to generate bad road conditions. Our guess is that the grass might be covered by an inch or so of snow by tomorrow morning, but the roads will be merely wet (not slippery).

We hope for once that we're wrong. (Not an arrogant "once," as in "at GSD we're never wrong"; "once" as in "just once this winter can't a storm become worse (more snow and ice) and not change to rain?")

We'll run a tally of delays if they come in tomorrow.

We will have an update about Friday's snow tomorrow. Friday could yield us more snow than prognosticators originally thought. We are a desperate bunch of weather watchers these days.

Winter Weather Advisory for Late Tuesday Night and Wednesday Morning

NOAA may have been planning to give us a Winter Weather Advisory all along, but it did come as a slight surprise that the advisory would extend into the Berkshires and all of Western Mass. The WWA was announced earlier this morning.

The forecast is for 1-3 inches of snow after midnight, followed by a brief period of sleet, and then a rapid change to all rain around daybreak. The storm is a fast-mover and will be finished up by midday tomorrow. Snow should start around midnight. At this point we see no reason to postpone evening activities.
It's coming. Will that green turn blue and come far enough east? We shall see.
If the storm tracks more to the east and slows down, delays will happen in Berkshire County. We do not like the forecasted temperature for the morning hours, though, which is why we are still not too fired up about the chances for widespread delays.

We will bump up the True North Confidence Meter a few points, and we'll also take a harder look at the data later today to see if the snow/sleet will last into that critical 5 AM to 6 AM decision time.

Don't get too excited tonight, but there is a slight chance for your school to have a delay tomorrow. We'll have one more brief update later on, hopefully before 10 PM.