Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Snow To Continue Overnight

The forecast of 3-5 inches that warranted the Winter Weather Advisory will likely not come through. The initial burst of snow was much lighter than expected. We do have a second pulse that will move through our area around midnight or shortly after, but again there isn't much moisture to it.

We'll see another inch by tomorrow. Roads will be wet for the commute but should be passable. Unfortunately, we're going to downgrade our chance for a delay tomorrow on the True North Confidence Meter. It looks like a full day of school for the young people of Berkshire County.

Thanks to our friends at Accuweather for the graphic.
As for next week, we do expect to see several storms visit the Berkshires. We could see snow on Monday, some kind of wintry mix Wednesday night into Thursday, then more snow on Saturday. It will be a wild week with multiple opportunities for delays...at the very least.

We should have more definitive info about the Monday snow in the next few days.

Winter Weather Advisory for the Berkshires

The NWS has deemed that the snowfall totals will be high enough to merit the announcement of a Winter Weather Advisory. The Advisory begins at 11 AM and ends at 7 AM Wednesday.

The only change to our last post is that it looks like the snow will start closer to 1 PM, not 4 PM. Because of the earlier start to the snow, many schools will have to make the tough decision whether to cancel afternoon and evening activities or not. The snow should be light, which should spare most after-school practices and rehearsals, but games and performances in the evening might be in jeopardy. Sometimes people forget we're New Englanders and are more adept at driving in the snow.

The snow should get to the Berkshires by 1 PM.
The GSD Staff sees no reason to up the chances for a delay tomorrow. A few rogue schools will call one in, but most students will have a full day of school tomorrow. But we'll of course update you if the snow intensifies or looks like it's going to hold on longer than we are anticipating right now.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Latest on Tuesday's Snow Storm

Here's a word we haven't heard in a few months: pivot. The GSD Staff is beginning to pivot on its earlier stance on the Tuesday snow event. While we still think the snow will end before the start of school on Wednesday, several indicators show that we could get up to 5 inches in some part of Berkshire County.

You snowhounds will like this map:

Earlier today we spared you a different version of this map because it only showed 1 inch for the county. We didn't think you'd like it. But now it's showing 4 inches in Pittsfield, which is a great sign for you greedy sorts who want a delay on Wednesday. A snow day is absolutely out of the question, and we mean it.

The reason for the enhanced snow prediction is that we're actually going to see two clipper systems zip through our area tomorrow. The first will generate snow beginning between 4 and 6 PM, and the second will generate snow from 9 to 3 AM.

This storm has the potential to sneak up on us, so we will raise the chance for a delay on the True North Confidence Meter to 10%. The leading candidates for calling in the delay are schools north of I-90 and Southern Berkshire, of course.

Stay alert and drive carefully tomorrow evening. Games/concerts/performances could get postponed if the snow starts earlier than 4 PM.

Snow for Tuesday Afternoon and Night

The latest runs of the models suggest that there might be just a little more liquid precipitation headed our way for tomorrow, but it will be not enough to earn this storm classification as a major winter event.

Our sources tell us that we can expect to see 1-3 inches in the Berkshires, with more in the towns near the Vermont border and less in towns down by Connecticut.

The Alberta Clipper should come through in the early afternoon, and we'll see snow for 6-10 hours. Because it will be so light, it won't accumulate all that much. The good news is that there will certainly be enough cold air in place for snow to fall for the entire duration of the event. Shovelers rejoice--there will be no sleet this week.

We still do not believe there will be delays on Wednesday, despite the uptick in the forecast for slightly more snow. The timing will be early, and Superintendents are probably still feeling some backlash from last week's snow day (that should have been a delay).

Good news: the GSD collective eyebrow certainly has been raised by what we're reading about for a storm at the beginning of next week. Of course it's way too early to tell for certain, but there's something about the tone of the first few reports that we've read that suggests a coastal storm is possible for the Sunday/Monday/Tuesday period. It might not pan out, but the ingredients for a moderate storm are out there in the atmosphere.

This is a map for next Monday. Even though it isn't a direct hit, you can see how it is suggesting coastal development. If those darker green areas move over New England--which is possible--we would see 4-7 inches of snow.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tuesday Snow

A new week with new opportunities is upon us, and we say so long and farewell to a truly disappointing January. Temps were unseasonably high for the month--insert jokes about alternative facts about climate change here--and Old Man Winter only produced a paltry 3.55 inches of snow at GSD Headquarters (so far).

But most schools in the County did have a snow day this past month, running our streak to two straight months with a snow day, which is a huge improvement from last year at this time.

And yes, there still is one more opportunity for snow in January. That opportunity will come on Tuesday, mostly during the afternoon, due to a clipper system emerging from the west. The potential for two or three inches of snow exists for some folks in Berkshire County, but it looks like it will be much too early to impact the start of school on Wednesday.

It's certainly within the realm of possibility that games/performances/meetings could be cancelled or postponed Tuesday night due to the light snow. We'll have more about this minor storm tomorrow and Tuesday.

Our next possibility for snow could be Sunday/Monday (Super Bowl Sunday). We will not rehash our long-standing opinion that the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday--how hard would it be to move Presidents' Day to that day?--but perhaps Old Man Winter will take care of us this year.

We've got our eye on it so you don't have to.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Snow Showers Today; Quiet Week Ahead

We received a half inch of snow at the GSD Home Office overnight, only 8 hours later than we predicted yesterday.

We will see a few spotty showers and squalls today as lake-effect moisture from the Great Lakes region overspreads the Berkshires. Most of those showers look to be targeted for the northern half of Berkshire County, but all county denizens should see (or already have seen) flakes today. An inch is about the best we can expect from these showers and squalls.

Not much to write home about.
More nuisance snow is expected Sunday morning and Tuesday night. The snow on Tuesday night could be slightly heavier, but it will only be a broomable event, not a shovelable one. Also, for what seems like the sixth week in a row, we won't be seeing much of Mr. Sun's smiling face.

Temps will still be moderate for the next few days--mid 30s--until we see the mercury plummet on Monday night down toward the low teens.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cold Air Returns and Light Snow Tonight

The weather pattern appears to be shifting, and the tail end of January and the early part of February will resemble something that looks and feels like winter.

We might get an inch of snow tonight from essentially lake effect snows. The timing looks to be between 6 PM and midnight for some very light snow.

Currently, we don't have any big snowmakers in our meteorological crystal ball, but we will see the temps drop significantly, which will allow for plentiful snow-making and backyard skating rinks to freeze up. Daily high temps will settle in around 30 for the next week or so, and we'll get the experience the joy of single digit temps when you wake up on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning. Good times!

Change is good, though. It's a fairly simple formula. A shift in the pattern of the jet stream can often lead to unsettled conditions. Unsettled atmospheric conditions leads precipitation. And when the air is cold enough, you know what happens to the precipitation.

We have half an eyeball on a Tuesday/Wednesday event, but it looks to be fairly minor. The good news, though, is that multiple sources are saying that February is going to be stormy. The proof will be in the pudding, as they say. Historically, February is our snowiest month and produces our biggest storms.

Get your popcorn ready--it could be a fun month.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday Morning Report

It appears road crews were able to get out and get their jobs done in Berkshire County, as we have no delays to report at this time. A few schools to our west in New York and to our east in Hampshire County have delays, but that's all we see so far.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory Extended

The snow storm that was really a sleet storm has become a snow storm. The NWS has extended the Winter Weather Advisory until 1 AM due to the potential for snow and sleet and freezing rain until about midnight. You can see from the radar picture above that more precipitation is on the way. The bands of snow you see are moving to the west.

Even though we really missed on our prediction this morning, we're hard pressed to call ourselves completely wrong. Based on the road conditions our staff experienced at 9 AM, the two-hour delay was probably the right call for most school districts. Sure, we'll take the snow day, but in retrospect the conditions suggested a delay would have been perfect.

Because it's snowing now and will continue to snow for a while--and there's a lot of junk just swirling around the atmosphere in general--we will not be surprised to see an isolated delay or two tomorrow morning. Your guess is as good as ours about where those one or two delays will occur, but we're guessing the chance will be higher in North County than in South County.

We'll post tomorrow morning if we hear about any delays.

Our next chance for snow is Thursday night, but we're only expecting an inch or two.

Delays and Closings for Tuesday

Good morning. At the GSD Home Office in Williamstown, we have an inch of sleet on the ground. With more intermittent sleet and freezing rain expected throughout the morning, many schools have decided to go with the two-hour delay or have closed. Never, ever underestimate the power of ice.

Here's our list, which we'll update throughout the morning:


Berkshire Hills
Richmond Consolidated
Southern Berkshire


Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts


Berkshire Community College
Berkshire Country Day
Central Berkshire
Emma Miller Memorial (Savoy)
Emma Willard
Farmington River SD (Otis)
Gabriel Abbott (Florida)
Mohawk Trail RSD
Mount Greylock
North Adams
Northern Berkshire Vocational (McCann)
Pine Cobble
Southwest Vermont SU (Mt. Anthony)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Evening Storm Update

The computer models do not know how to process this storm. The Euro model is calling for more colder temps and more snow; the North American model is calling for warmer temperatures and more sleet and rain. Meteorologists don't know which guidance, as they call it, they should follow.

The good news for those hoping for a delay or snow day tomorrow is that the storm has been much slower in getting to the Berkshires, which means its effects--snow, sleet, freezing rain and wind--could easily work their way into tomorrow morning's commute.

The bad news is the uncertainty of the precipitation type. We're just going to have to wait it out until tomorrow morning to know how bad the ice and sleet and snow are.

One school district will not need to wait it out tomorrow and that's Southern Berkshire. They called in their two-hour delay earlier this afternoon. This is a very aggressive play by the South Berkshire Superintendent, and we fully endorse his style at GSD. Why get up at 4 AM when you don't have to (as most Supers do on questionable weather days)?

Heavy precipitation to our south will strongly impact the Berkshires around 8 PM.
We do see an impressive swath of moderate to heavy precipitation headed our way (see above). If it comes down as snow or sleet, driving conditions will be treacherous for a several hour period tonight. The reason snow totals are not predicted to be higher is because much of the accumulation will be in the form of sleet.

We still think 2-4 inches is what we'll see in the Berkshires with lower totals in the valleys and higher totals in the hill towns, especially on the east side of the County.

We also think a few more schools will join Southern Berkshire tomorrow with the delayed start to school, but it will likely not be a clean sweep for all Berkshire students.

We'll be running our delay and cancellation list starting around 5:30 tomorrow morning. Enjoy the evening, and keep your fingers crossed that the temperature stays at or below freezing.

Weather Grab Bag

We have new information about the storm as well as some maps.

1. One, it's colder now than forecasters thought it was going to be, which will increase our chance for frozen precipitation.

2. Because that colder air is in place, the start of the storm will be later than forecasted. Precipitation will arrive after 3 PM. This also increases our chances for delays on Tuesday.

3. The strong cyclonic swirl of this powerful storm will funnel colder air into our area, again increasing our chances for frozen precipitation.

4. The end of the Winter Weather Advisory is now for 1 PM on Tuesday, not 7 PM.

Most forecasters are projecting 1-4 inches of frozen precipitation for the Berkshires. The peak hours of the storm will be from 7 PM to 1 AM tonight.

We think most after school activities will take place, but games and performance after dinner tonight are in serious jeopardy of being postponed to another date.

Delays are still possible tomorrow. We don't think all schools will have them tomorrow, but schools that serve students in higher elevation towns, especially those in eastern Berkshire County, will see an increased chance for delays.

In many ways this storm is similar to last Tuesday's storm, but more potent. The official GSD Staff position is sleet, sleet, and more sleet. We expect over an inch of sleet throughout the night in most locations.

Here are some maps:



More Albany, and by far the more optimistic of our forecasts.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory for Monday/Tuesday

Looking at the national weather scene and seeing the threat of tornadoes all across Georgia today, it's not so bad living in the Berkshires after all...

We have some winter weather news, and it is encouraging. A Winter Weather Advisory is up for the Berkshires starting at 1 PM Monday and ending at 7 PM Tuesday. It looks like enough cold air will be in place in our neck of the woods to generate a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.

The snow and sleet are coming Monday and Tuesday. Heavy snow is predicted for areas near us.
The main theme we're getting from all of our weather sources is the complexity--read inability to be predicted accurately--of this storm. A nose of cold air here, a quick warm-up there and the complete landscape of this storm will change. We could see an inch of snow, two inches of sleet, or an inch of rain, or all three concurrently or consecutively.

Two things are in play here that are good for a snow day decision: ice and uncertainty about ice. We only need to look back to last Tuesday to see what the threat of ice did for the afternoon activity schedule (i.e. everything was cancelled).

This means the possibility for delays and snow days for Tuesday are very real.

Here's what we think is going to happen in the Berkshires: rain by 2:00 PM Monday and then a changeover to sleet a little after dark and then off-again on-again snow and sleet throughout the evening into Tuesday morning. The winds are also going to whip up overnight, which will help bring temperatures down and help make it seem even worse than it actually is, whether it is raining, sleeting or snowing.

If you live in South County, you'll have about a 25% chance of a delay for Tuesday. If you live in North County, a 50% chance of a delay. That's what we're saying right now, but the True North Confidence Meter will likely change during the day tomorrow as we get more info.

Given how warm it was this weekend, it's also easy to see how this storm could be all rain. That we do not like.

Stay informed, and you can do that by checking back with us tomorrow morning.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Messy Situation Developing for Monday Night

We've been complaining about a lack of big storms recently, and now those complaints can officially cease. There are many conditions attached to the next statement, but here it is: we have a huge nor'easter shaping up for Monday afternoon and evening and Tuesday early.

Unfortunately, most signs are pointing to a major rain event. We will get over an inch of liquid precipitation in the Berkshires, and parts of coastal New England (namely Maine) will see over four inches of liquid precipitation.

If there is enough cold air in place--a few models are, in fact, predicting that there will be--then we could be looking at a 4-8 inch storm starting on Monday afternoon.

There's so much disagreement in the models right now that we're not even going to speculate on the length of the school day on Tuesday. There's no sense getting into a tizzy about it just yet. But we do know there won't be early releases on Monday as the storm will start after afternoon dismissals.

We know it's not particularly satisfying to hear now, but the only advice we can offer is that this storm bears watching. Whatever happens, a lot of liquid is going to fall from the sky and the winds will howl Monday night and Tuesday morning. It's a very big storm.

We'll have more throughout the weekend.

Even though this map does not include Berkshire County, you can extend the blue-gray snow prediction of 3-4 inches into our area. This map is from Taunton. People in that part of the state know that the Berkshires are in Massachusetts in theory, but in practice...eh. This map shows the expected snow totals by 1 PM on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Freezing Drizzle and Black Ice

We're not completely out of the woods yet with this persistent little (almost )ice storm.

The drizzle continued all day throughout Berkshire County, and with the temperature right around freezing, we saw a variety of precipitation types during the day.

The current radar (9:45 PM) shows that a few more snow showers are likely to pass through tonight on top of the drizzle and fog. The temperature is at 33 degrees in most parts of the County, but it shouldn't drop very much overnight. Even if it does drop a degree or two, we could see many roads ice up.

So...we can't rule out a delay or two tomorrow morning as the conditions will only gradually improve overnight. Here's a shocker: we should see breaks of sun tomorrow as the storm finally lifts out of our area.

There are still no big snow systems in our sights in the long-term forecast. We've heard rumblings from some of our sources that February is going to make up for this very weak January, but we'll see. We still have a few weeks to go to close out this month.

Drive safely!

Delays for Wednesday

The Winter Weather Advisory has been extended to 10 AM because of the persistent rain and freezing rain. It is still raining in many parts of Berkshire County, but the freezing rain is occurring mostly in the higher elevations. Side roads are untreated at the GSD Home Office in Williamstown, but route 7 appears to be just wet.

At the moment (5 AM), only Gabriel Abbott is the only school to phone in the delay--no surprise there--but many schools to our east and west have also gone with delays (for example, Brunswick, NY and Mohawk Trail, MA). We'll keep a running tally here of Berkshire County schools and a few others should more Superintendents opt for the delay.

(Updates to the list are in red.)


Florida (Gabriel Abbott)
Berkshire Country Day


Southern Berkshire

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Delays Possible for Wednesday

It's a mess out there. The sleet has been falling steadily for several hours now, and the NWS has stated that freezing rain is highly likely for the rest of this evening. Travel right now is doable but not encouraged.

Because the rain fell moderately this afternoon, it pulled cool air downward, which moved the temperature to freezing and even below freezing. For this reason we'll see sleet and freezing rain throughout the night.

The reason we won't have delays across the board for tomorrow morning is that the precipitation is going to let up significantly in the next few hours. There will still be intermittent showers and drizzle throughout the night, and that will lead to slippery roads, but for the most part the heavy stuff has ended. There is one more good band of rain in central New York and north central Pennsylvania that should whack us in a few hours, but then it will be relatively quiet after that.

The delay decision tomorrow all depends on the mindset of your Superintendent tomorrow morning and how well town road crews can keep up. As has been the case with many storms this winter, the higher elevation towns will be the candidates with the greater chance for delays.

As you can see from the 7:00 radar below, there isn't that much organized moisture across New York and Pennsylvania. We need less brown there and more green, pink and blue. The only hope for a delay is that more potent bands of rain and showers form in far western New York and hit us during the sweetspot hour between 5 and 6 AM. Based on the evidence the GSD Staff is compiling, that event is not likely.

The 7:00 PM radar.
Keep your fingers crossed, but most students will have a full day of school tomorrow. A very select few will get to go in two hours late.

Schools in New York Closing Early

We don't think the trend will extend into the Berkshires, but several schools to our west have decided to send students home early today. The closest school to the Berkshires to make that call is New Lebanon, NY.

Should any Berkshire County schools decide to send students home early, we'll run a list here.

As for the snow and sleet, expect it to start at or slightly before noon, but the heavier precipitation will fall in the afternoon (around 3 PM) and extend into the evening.

The 10 AM radar.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snow for Tuesday Afternoon

Just a few updates to our earlier discussion of the Winter Weather Advisory for Tuesday:

*The NWS now starts the Advisory at 10 AM, not 3 PM, for the Berkshires. There will be a brief period of snow and/or sleet then a lull in the action then a return to more steady snow and sleet in the afternoon.

*There will be enough cold air in place for all snow for the late afternoon time frame of the storm. We could easily see 3-4 inches in higher elevations in the Berkshires, especially in eastern locales. Lower elevations will see more sleet and freezing rain as the approaching rain overspreads the area and falls through the cold air still trapped in place.

*School officials will have to make decisions about the fate of after-school activities. It could be messy at school release time and likely will be slick when most practices and rehearsals let out.

*We're still hesitant to predict delays for Wednesday. Most of the precipitation will end well before the buses run in the morning.

From our friends at Springfield at Channel 22.

Wiinter Weather Advisory for Tuesday

The winter storm machine that made December such a blast has apparently run out of fuel. We've had a very dull January so far, and it does not look promising for the rest of the month. It will interesting to see how this January ranks in terms of temperatures and warmest Januaries ever. We've had several days in the 40s, and more 40 degree days are in the forecast for the next 10 days. It could easily make the top 10.

But we do have some winter nastiness to contend with tomorrow. A Winter Weather Advisory for the Berkshires has been posted for tomorrow starting at 3 PM and lasting until 7 AM on Wednesday. Expect snow, sleet, and freezing rain throughout the afternoon, with more of all three precipitation types in the north and lower amounts in the south.

The timing of the iciness is not ideal for delays on Wednesday. It will all arrive too early. There is an outside shot for a shorter school day on Wednesday, but we don't think the delay call will be universally employed by Superintendents. We think there's a better chance games and performances could be postponed Tuesday night because of the roads.

Ultimately, we don't think this storm will cause too much trouble, but there is the potential for an extended period of sleet in the afternoon that has necessitated the Winter Weather Advisory. Be safe on the roads, and we'll update tomorrow morning to give our dear readers a clearer sense of the likelihood of after-school activities being cancelled.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Frigid Monday; Snow Tuesday

At the GSD Home Office today in Williamstown, we had a steady mist of snow for part of the day and then a brief burst of snow in the evening tacked on a quarter of an inch to our growing snow total for the year.

Monday will be very cold but the good news is that we will see the sun. Temps will top out at 17 or 18 degrees before a big warming trend starts during the day on Tuesday.

We will see snow Tuesday afternoon--more in North County than in South County--but the grand total will only by an inch or two. The snow should change over to rain in the evening. Travel after school on Tuesday could be messy, but roads should be more wet than covered in snow.

Things really warm up later in the week with mid-40s expected Wednesday through Friday. Wednesday looks to be a rainy day, which will wash away much of the snow we have accumulated recently (in most areas).

Unfortunately, we're still waiting for that big organized storm to kick off the new year.

Here's a map for those of you who might have snow envy:

As expected, the Cape got the best of it this past weekend.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday Night Snow

Say goodbye to the sun as you won't be seeing it's smiling face very often over the next ten days. We have a very active period of precipitation ahead of us, but unfortunately, there are no big, organized storms expected to hit Berkshire County directly.

There is, however, a very large storm just percolating off of the mid-Atlantic seaboard right now, and the outer edge of that heavy snow maker will impact the Berkshires tonight (Saturday). We could see up to 2 inches in South County and about an inch north of I-90. If the storm tracks more northward, you can add an inch to those projected totals. Also, if you're heading to the Cape for whatever reason, reconsider your journey. Blizzard Warnings are in effect and 15-20 inches of snow have been forecasted for far eastern part of Massachusetts.

That's a big storm.
In the quiet and quaint Berkshires, you can expect slippery travel to start between 4 and 6 PM with the snow line moving south to north. There's a big girls high school basketball game over in Adams tonight. Travelers to the game shouldn't have any problem; driving on the way home could require more attentiveness to the conditions of the roads.

As for school-shortening or school-cancelling snow events, it looks like Thursday morning's commute could be slippery. We'll see some snow Tuesday afternoon as well, but it will change over to rain by Wednesday morning. The timing of Thursday's minor snowfall looks good, but it's far too early to count on that forecast's accuracy. The most snow we'll see out of either of these disturbances is 2 inches of snow.

Enjoy the flakes tonight, and check in on Monday for a clearer picture of what's in store for us for the week ahead.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Evening and Overnight Snow for Friday

There are no two ways to look it at: it's winter. The temps are in the 20s, the wind is blowing, black ice is all around, and we might get snow tonight. All the signs point to January in the Berkshires.

We won't see the temperature above freezing until Tuesday. Ponds should be skateable by Monday, possibly.

We do have a small chance of a messy commute tomorrow morning. A clipper-type system is approaching from the west, and there is a small chance we could get an inch or two of snow just in time for the morning commute. The snow will be light, but drivers should be aware to take it slow tomorrow morning (Friday). The GSD Staff does not think that it will lead to any delays tomorrow--road crews should be able to handle it--but there is an outside chance a district calls in a delay.

The long-range outlook is not encouraging. Rain for the middle of next week as temps warm back up into the 40s and that's about it. Rats.

We did narrowly miss a blockbuster of a storm for this weekend, but all the ingredients did not come together. It was close, though, to being a major nor'easter. Maybe we'll get it next time!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Quiet Week Ahead

Happy New Year, all you followers of the flake. We don't have too much of anything exciting to report other than that the mercury is going to head into decline later in the week.

After the rain finally stops tonight, we'll see warm temps for most of one more day before they drop down toward more seasonable levels in the afternoon (Wednesday). Expect increased gustiness and the occasional snow shower especially later in the afternoon as lake effect snow potentially impacts our area. Any accumulation will be under an inch.

Starting tomorrow, the temperature will creep a little lower each day as high pressure moves into our area. High pressure is great news if you wanted to make artificial snow at a ski resort, but it's bad for the rest of us who want real snow storms. We want low pressure systems, and we're not going to see any of those until maybe the beginning of next week.

Over the weekend we will struggle to see 20 degrees on the thermometer. Lows will be in the single digits on Saturday and Sunday.

Our next chance for snow is Wednesday the 11th of January. Be patient; it will come.