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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Snow Possible for the Next Two Days

Wow! What a difference a day makes. About 36 hours ago, we were looking at the potential for an inch or so on Sunday and Monday in the Berkshires and that was about it.

So, needless to say we were very surprised and delighted to see the notice that a Winter Storm Warning was posted for Northern Berkshire County starting at 1 AM Sunday.

There's an even chance this map could be right...
But three things were very odd about this announcement, the last of which should give you pause about getting too excited about a delay or snow day for Monday.

Odd thing number one: typically there is a progression for these early season storms from the Winter Weather Advisory to the Winter Storm Watch and then to the Winter Storm Warning. In basic terms, the Advisory suggests under 6"of snow is possible; the Watch means 6+" is possible; the Warning means 6+" is likely. Usually the National Weather Service does not go right to the Warning.

Odd thing number two is the long duration of the Warning period: 1 AM Sunday to 7 PM Monday. That's not that unusual for midwinter storms but it's unusual for this time of year.

Odd thing number three--and the main reason you need to slow your roll, as the kids say--is that this Winter Storm Warning is only for locations above 1000 feet. (ICYMI--Florida 1895', Dalton 1198', Lanesborough 1129', Cheshire 963', Adams 799', North Adams 705', Williamstown 636')

What this means is that we will get a blast of snow--upwards of 3" even in the valleys--when the cold front moves through very early on Sunday (5 AM-ish). (And by the way, those mid-60s you enjoyed today? They are history. Sunday will see highs in the high 30s and gradually sinking throughout the day and on into Monday to right around 30 degrees.) Then, as the front goes through and cold air gets pulled into the Berkshires from the north, it's going to produce a snow-making machine that will lock in over the Berkshires and drop snow on us for several hours in the evening Sunday and on into Monday. The snow could be heavy in the mountains, but it will be less heavy in the valleys.

So...after careful study of the data pouring in, we think that towns like Lanesborough, North Adams, Adams and Cheshire will see anywhere from 3" to 8". Our good friends up on Florida Mountain could have a snow day Monday, but the rest of us in Northern Berkshire county can at best only hope for a delay on Monday morning. And even that chance is going to be slight because of the warmth of the roadways due to the 60 degree temps the past two days.

Things may change tomorrow, but right now we see a 15% chance of a delay for schools north of Pittsfield and virtually no chance for schools in mid-county and below. Central Berkshire has a slightly higher chance because of the hill towns in that district.

All you nordic and alpine skiers: keep your fingers crossed that the forecast gets even worse! And enjoy the first real shovel-able snow of the season! We'll have much more tomorrow.

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