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

Monday, February 27, 2017

We're Back...And So Is Spring

Our apologies for the lack of posts recently. The record-breaking warmth we just experienced last week really depressed some of the staff members, so we all decided to take a few days off, regroup, and get ready for a several more weeks of winter.

Unfortunately, this strategy has backfired as more record-breaking warmth is headed our way for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Sad.

We were watching our friend Bob Kovachick on Channel 13 NYT and he revealed that the 74 degree mark that hit in Albany on Friday was the warmest temperature in winter (December, January, February) in the history of the recorded daily temperatures (1874). And still there are some who doubt damaging climate change is occurring.

From eastern Mass meteorologist Dave Epstein. This trend suggests GSD will be out of business in about 20 years.
We won't see 70 this week, but we could come close on Wednesday. As for liquid or frozen precipitation, we have a chance of showers Tuesday night and then a chance for more thunderstorms on Wednesday. The official GSD position is that we should not be seeing thunderstorms this time of year.

But a change in the temperature is coming for Friday. We could see a dusting of snow on Friday as well as temps moderate and return to the low 30s.

As for bigger storms, we see nothing in the meteorological crystal ball. There's another chance for a dusting or inch of snow on Tuesday (the 6th) but that's about the size of it.

We know that Old Man Winter has one more trick up his sleeve. It might take a few weeks but, despite how warm it will get for the next few days, winter is not over.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Snow Showers Tonight; Slim Chance for Delays Thursday

Another coastal storm is blasting Maine with another 6-12 inches right now, but around these parts we're only going to see an inch or two of snow tonight.

We do not think there will delays tomorrow morning, but there is an outside shot one or two schools calls in for the late start. Part of the problem is the warm temperature. It's 35 degrees at the GSD Home Office so the snow is not sticking to the roads. We will drop below freezing after midnight so we might see some accumulation on the roads.

We could see 3-4 inches if and only if the upslope snows continue and we get stuck in a few moderate bursts of snow. While this scenario is unlikely, it could play out and impact the morning commute.

No snow for the weekend, and we will see temps warm up to the 40s.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

One Delay Tomorrow; Squalls and Upslope Snow on Wednesday

Gabriel Abbott Memorial in Florida has a two-hour delay today, but that should be the only one for the County this morning.

Today will start out very cold (low teens) but warm up to almost 30 today. Our snow that we hoped would impact the morning commute tomorrow is going to hold off until midmorning. The snow tomorrow will be more of the snow squall variety, which means it will be intermittent and hard to predict. A few strong squalls could coat the roads quickly, but these squalls will not be enough to impact the school day on Wednesday. On Wednesday night we could see the return of upslope snow. We'll keep an eye on that situation to see if it will impact the Thursday morning drive to school.

After early Thursday morning, we'll see a period of relative quiet until the middle of next week. Temps in the mid-40s this weekend. Get out the shorts!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Upslope Snow

Good morning! Those of you looking for the list of cancellations and delays, you can go here. Sadly, we didn't see too many upgrades over night. There still could be a few more, but most likely this list is final. Schools north of Pittsfield were the big winners with this storm.

As for today, Berkshire County will see what is called upslope snow. What lake effect snow is to Buffalo, New York, upslope snow is to Berkshire County. After a big storm exits to our east, the wrap around energy creates a snow pipeline from Canada down through the Green Mountains and into the Berkshires (see below). Sometimes, we get trapped in this upslope snow for hours, which can lead to several more inches of accumulation in the dying hours of a storm.

A good image of upslope snow from Vermont all the way down to the Litchfield Hills in Connecticut.
Today, we'll see another 1-3 inches from upslope snow, especially in northern Berkshire County.

The other big issue, which you've probably already noticed, is the wind. We do have a Wind Advisory for the County, which means sustained winds in the 20 and 30 mph range with gusts up to 50 mph possible. Roads next to open fields and spaces could be particular treacherous during the day because of the blowing snow.

Everything will start to wind down late in the afternoon and in the early evening. The snow will be intermittent throughout the day before coming to an end this afternoon. Winds will finally die down around nightfall.

Next up for Berkshire County is a minor storm for Wednesday morning. Originally, the thought was we might see a third nor'easter, but the two energy systems will not phase and create a large coastal storm. Instead, we'll see about 2-3 inches during the morning commute and morning hours. Yes, delays are indeed possible.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cancellations and Delays for Monday, February 13

If you want the scoop on how the storm will play out tomorrow, read this.

If you want to read about lucky students who have a three-day weekend, start reading here:

SNOW DAY:

Adams/Cheshire
BArT
Bement School
Berkshire Community College (decision for evening classes to be made at 3 PM)
Bowdoin College
Central Berkshire
Emma Miller Memorial (Savoy)
Gabriel Abbott Memorial (Florida)
Hancock
Lanesborough
Miss Hall's
Mohawk Trail
Mount Greylock
North Adams
Northern Berkshire Vocational (McCann)
Southern Berkshire
Stamford
Williamstown

*TWO-HOUR DELAY:

Berkshire Christian
Berkshire Country Day
Berkshire Hills
Emma Willard
Farmington River SD (Otis)
Hoosick Falls (NY)
Lee
Lenox
New Lebanon (NY)
Pine Cobble
Pittsfield
Richmond
Southwest Vermont SU
Williams College (Delayed 2 hours; Children's Center Opens at 9:30; Admin. Offices open at 10 AM)

FIVE-HOUR DELAY:

MCLA (opens at 1 PM)

*Some of these delays are conditional and could change tomorrow morning depending on the...conditions. We'll update if when we hear more.

Evening Update

The GSD Staff successfully made it back from our conference in Boston, which explains the dearth of activity at this site this afternoon. We can report it is snowing from Boston all the way back to Williamstown. This is a big storm. Kudos to the road crews of Berkshire County who were the far-and-away winners of "The Cleanest Roads" award today.

Not to take anything away from the fine work these folks do, but a big reason they've been able to keep up with this storm is that the storm has not quite lived up to its initial billing. We still have a long way to go yet, but we might not get the 13-14" snow totals that many meteorologists thought we would.

As of 5:30 PM, we have a solid 4 inches on the ground at GSD Headquarters. We had a lull in the snow for a few hours this afternoon, but now there are some heavier bands moving through the area now that will last for the next few hours (until 8 PM).



As we wrote about yesterday, we will see the snow stop completely between 10 and midnight, but then the upper level low will generate another period of persistent and moderate snow (3-5 more inches). On the map above, this upper level low pressure system is generating the snow back in Toronto and the rest of Ontario. This part of the storm is headed right for us and should still be with us during the morning commute, making conditions very messy out there.

Throughout Monday, then, we'll see snow showers and periods of light snow. Unfortunately, we're not going to know how hard it's snowing because there will be considerable blowing and drifting of snow throughout the day. A High Wind Watch is possible for tomorrow. Once the wind does pick up, it will be very hard to keep the roads clean even though the snow from the sky will be lighter. 

We know Superintendents are entirely flustered by this flurry (!) of snow days in the last five school days, but the reality is that roads are going to be a mess in the morning and throughout the day. We think most districts will not risk and will cancel school. If some districts go with a delay, those schools will be South County schools. We will be very surprised if any school has a full day tomorrow.

Some districts will call in their verdict tonight. We'll run a separate post if and when those come in. Some schools outside of Berkshire County have already made calls but the list is not that long yet.

Be patient. The heavier snow is yet to come.

Storm Update

The storm is right on schedule, and snow has started at the GSD Home Office. But we have one slightly disconcerting piece of information to pass along.

A few models are indicating a nose of warm air will work its way right up the Hudson Valley during this first phase of the storm. This warm air would reduce snow totals buy as much as half...or more. While it ultimately might not impact the snow in Berkshire County, it is still something to watch. If this storm is going to be a bust, that warm air will be the reason.



All of our sources, though, are still indicating that we're in for a two-day snow event. There's a massive wall of precipitation to our west, and the storm will redevelop off the coast after midnight. We're still feeling very good about this storm but some doubt has crept into the equation.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

It Snow Joke...We're Going To Get It

We'll keep this simple because this post is late: we're going to get clobbered.

The Watch was finally upgraded to the Warning earlier this afternoon. We're now on track for 10-14 inches of snow for all of the Berkshires.

The two low pressure systems from the west will phase together, which will intensify the storm. The heaviest snow should fall between 6 and 9 PM Sunday, although we could see rates of over 1 inch per as early as 3 PM in the afternoon.

There might be a break in the intensity of the storm around midnight, and then once the low hits the coast, bombogenesis will occur, which will result in re-intensified snow fall rates around 2-3 AM. This part of the storm is what will lead to widespread snow days on Monday.

Not a minor storm.
Our best guesstimate is that snow will start to fall in Berkshire County at 10 AM and then not stop until 3 PM on Monday.

Maybe school districts should start to reconsider the need for February vacation!

You know we'll have more to say tomorrow (if the GSD Staff makes it back from eastern Mass).

Nor'easter Number 2

After a pleasant couple of inches of snow last night and calm conditions today, things are really going tor ramp up between the hours of noon Sunday and 9 AM Monday.

Let's get right to the current maps:



Even though this storm seems even more powerful than the previous storm--and it well could end up being so--there is some iffy-ness to it that is tempering our enthusiasm just slightly. First, it will be a much heavier snow, which means that temperatures will be at our just below freezing. Any slight wobble in the temperature could greatly impact the total snow amount and drop us into the 4-6 inch zone. Second, the timing isn't great. It will snow heavily Sunday afternoon and night, but we're not sure if it will last all the way through the Monday morning commute. Third, Superintendents are just worn out and really don't want to call snow day #6 or #7 (for many schools). Fourth, we're not quite sure why we haven't been upgraded from the Winter Storm Watch to the Winter Storm Warning, although we think that change could happen within the next few hours.

But here's what we like about the storm: 1) Tremendous volume potentially. 2) Blowing and drifting of snow likely well into Monday. 3) Storms this year have been hanging in for several hours longer than originally predicted. 4) There could be significant "up slope" wrap-around snow from the back part of the storm as it exits the region. We could easily see another 3-6 inches on Monday from the back part of the storm.

It's very likely we'll all be enjoying a three-day weekend. Just a side note: Most of the staff is off to another regional conference in Cambridge, MA this weekend, but we hear they have wifi there so we'll be able to update you. We should have an update much later this evening.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Sunday/Monday Snow Event...And More

[This post was updated at 3:30 PM.]

Happy weekend, Followers of the Flake. It was a crazy week, but the forecast for next week has the potential to be even nuttier.

First, we do have snow in the forecast for tonight. A clipper will pass through and drop a quick 2-3 inches on us tonight. The cold will make this event broomable, not shovelable. A drop in the bucket for what might come.

Do not rush out and tell your neighbors that two major storms will hit us next week, but that potential exists. You can suggest it to them; just don't say it directly. Neither one is currently as certain as yesterday's storm. But if everything comes together, we could see close to two feet additional snow in the Berkshires next week.

A glancing blow? Thanks, Accuweather.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch starting Sunday morning at 7 AM and lasting until Monday night at 7 PM. The reason for the watch this early is the potential for 7+ inches of snow (lucky 7s). What is very encouraging for those folks who like as many snow days as possible is the long duration of this storm. It appears to be a much slower mover than yesterday's snowmaker, which could mean deep snow totals by Monday night. If the Watch stays a Watch, Monday will be iffy for delays and snow days. If the Watch becomes a Warning, it will be a three-day weekend for students.

But wait, there's more!

At the end of the week (Thursday/Friday), we're looking at another possible nor'easter if--and it's a giant if--the northern and southern low pressure systems phase together to make megastorm. Early runs of the models have raised that possibility, but we're not going to get too excited about that storm before we find out what happens on Sunday/Monday.

Regardless, the GSD Staff has plenty of work to do. This past week and next week are doing their best to make up for all of last winter and the paltry snow amount we received.

We should be able to produce forecast maps for you tomorrow. Until then...

Delays for Friday

Many schools to our east have decided to give families a few extra hours to clean off their cars and clear their driveways, but we that is not so much the case for Berkshire County.

ONE-HOUR DELAY:

Farmington River (Otis)

TWO-HOUR DELAY:

Mohawk Trail

As for our Sunday/Monday nor'easter, it still has great potential to give us heavy snow. We are hearing the word "bombogenesis" associated with it, which translated from Meteorologian to English means "very big storm."

We'll know more later after a few more runs of the models, but we are concerned it might arrive too early for full snow days on Monday.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hello Winter!

Spirits are very high at the GSD Home Office after just an outstanding day of winter weather. The storm performed beautifully, and models and forecasters were spot on with their predictions for an old fashioned nor'easter. Major props to Accuweather meteorologist and Pennsylvania native Bernie Rayno who was way out in front of everyone on this one.

Here are a few snow totals for the Berkshires, as reported by the NWS:


We're surprised to see North Adams edge out Great Barrington, as we thought the totals for those two locales would have been the other way around.

It will be wicked cold tonight and tomorrow, and we mean wicked in the evil sense. Single digits overnight will be the norm, and we won't hit 20 degrees tomorrow for a high. And the wind will not do as any favors, pushing wind chill values down around 0 degrees for the first part of the day.

Most town supervisors should be able to get the roads clean, but there's an outside chance somebody out there will have a delay tomorrow.

We don't want to jinx it, but while everyone has been fretting about today's storm, the models have been busy predicting another nor'easter for Sunday night. We all just need to temper our enthusiasm. There's an outside chance, however, that Sunday's storm will rival this storm in terms of snow volume.

Easy there...
We really look forward to seeing what happens with this Sunday storm. As always, we'll update you as the vital data comes in.


Morning Storm Report

The heavy snow continues to fall in Berkshire County. The storm did track more northerly than expected, so we could see up to a foot in southern Berkshire County, and about 8 inches in the far northwest corner in Williamstown.

Still snowing. The 9:45 radar picture.

At the GSD Home Office as of 10:00, we have 4.5 inches of snow on the ground. There's a very heavy band over mid-county right now producing snow at a rate of 2 inches per hour.

The snow should stop around 3 PM for most but winds could cause white out conditions given how light and fluffy the snow is.

Impressive forecasted snow totals.
As for the next snow event, we might get a dusting to an inch Friday night, and then on Sunday night we could have another nor'easter. We're still gathering our initial intel on this storm, and we're not sure if it will hit us directly or impact the Monday morning commute, but it could be another big one.

Right on Time

Light snow is falling at the GSD Home Office with almost an inch on the ground as of 6 AM. It will pick up in intensity this morning before tapering off in the afternoon. There could be snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour later this morning. Also, watch for the wind to kick up and really make a mess of an already messy situation.

The storm will end early this evening. There will be no snow days tomorrow.

Here's a full list of closures:

SNOW DAY for THURSDAY:

Adams/Cheshire
BArT
Bement School
Berkshire Christian
Berkshire Community College (will decide on evening classes by 3 PM)
Berkshire Country Day
Berkshire Hills
Central Berkshire
Emma L. Miller Memorial (Savoy)
Farmington River Regional (Otis)
Gabriel Abbott Memorial (Florida)
Hancock
Lanesborough
Lee
Lenox
MCLA
Mohawk Trail
Mount Greylock
New Lebanon
North Adams
Northern Berkshire Voc. (McCann)
Pine Cobble
Pittsfield
Richmond Consolidated
Southern Berkshire
Southern Vermont College
Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union (Mt. Anthony)
Williams (Administration Offices and Day Care Only--so far)
Williamstown

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cancellations for Tomorrow

It's looking more and more like a total white out for Berkshire County tomorrow. Forecasters have raised snow totals for the northern part of the county by a few inches, and everyone is now looking at at least 6 inches. Also, the wind is going to howl tomorrow, causing significant blowing of snow.

Very nice!
The snow should start around 4 AM, but the cold air in place could evaporate the initial flakes, delaying their accumulation on the ground until 6 or 6:30 AM.

Delightful!
But right now the storm is behaving as expected. As a result, we have many early snow day calls to report.

SNOW DAY for THURSDAY:

Adams/Cheshire
BArT
Berkshire Christian
Berkshire Community College (will decide on evening classes by 3 PM)
Berkshire Hills
Central Berkshire
Emma L. Miller Memorial (Savoy)
Farmington River Regional (Otis)
Hancock
Lanesborough
Lee
Lenox
Mount Greylock
North Adams
Pittsfield
Richmond Consolidated
Southern Berkshire
Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union (Mt. Anthony)
Williams (Administration Offices and Day Care Only--so far)
Williamstown

Nor'easter For Thursday

All the pieces and parts are falling into place for Thursday's storm.

The Winter Storm Warning is still in effect. The timing is outstanding--snow should start between 2 AM and 4 AM. The air will be cold, leading to high snow-to-liquid ratios. Two parts of the storm will phase and intensify off the coast of New Jersey, bringing heavy bands of snow into our area between 9 AM and noon.

We are expecting 6-8 inches south of I-90 and 4-6 inches north of I-90. The one negative is that we will see cliff-like cutoff on the northern edge of the storm. For example, Pittsfield could see 8 inches and North Adams only 3 inches. The farther south and east you live, the better your chance is for a full snow day.

Not as good as last night's map, but still very, very encouraging.
For this reason, we think that all schools have a very good chance for a snow day tomorrow. The only schools that could see a full day of school are the ones in the very northern parts of the county--Mount Greylock, Williamstown, North Adams, Adams-Cheshire, Florida, Savoy. Also, the GSD Staff has decided not to go with a full 100% on the True North Confidence Meter because of the steep snow cutoff line potential.

If the storm tracks more to our south, we'll have to bring our snow totals down to 3-6 for the south, 2-4 to the north. Still, the timing is so good that even these lower snow totals could easily generate snow days for all.

If the storm tracks slightly more northward, then everyone in the county will see 6+ inches of snow and will assuredly enjoy yet another snow day.

Do not be surprised if a few schools in southern parts of Berkshire County call in the cancellation tonight. We'll post those as soon as we hear any news.

(We will be at a conference in New Hampshire this evening, but we should be able to post the latest storm developments before 9 PM.)

Delays For Wednesday; Winter Storm Warning For Thursday

A lot is going on right now. The Winter Weather Advisory has been extended through 7 AM this morning. We do have a few two-hour delays to report, and temperatures are still hovering around 32 degrees. Untreated roads could be slippery this morning for the commute.

Also over night, the Winter Storm Watch was upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning for all of Berkshire County. The period of the Warning is from midnight tonight to 6 PM Thursday. Snow days are likely for all of Berkshire County tomorrow; we'll have more details later.

Here's our list of delays:

TWO-HOUR DELAY:

Emma Miller (Savoy)
Gabriel Abbott Memorial (Florida)
Mohawk Trail
Richmond Consolidated
Southern Berkshire

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Oh Boy!

We thought February might be exciting, and for the next 48 hours that is certainly the case.

As the kids say these days, the weather is lit. As in, the Tom Brady was lit in the fourth quarter Sunday night.

Why's it lit? The Winter Weather Advisory still isn't over and the NWS has already thrown out a Winter Storm Watch for tomorrow night and Thursday. Plus, there's an Ice Storm Warning in the Adirondacks tonight, which you don't see every day.

Thanks, Accuweather.
Snow days are very possible for Thursday, especially for Southern Berkshire, Berkshire Hills, Lenox and Lee, all of whom got left out in the cold today and had to endure a full day of school. Model trends suggest that folks in the bottom half of Berkshire County could get 4-7 inches of snow, with over 7 inches possible in if the storm really ramps up. Students north of I-90 will see 3-5 inches of snow.

The best part of Thursday's storm is its timing, as snow will start at or around midnight and last throughout the day on Thursday. Cha-ching!

We might all be miserable in June, as a snow day on Thursday will run the season total to five for about half the schools in Berkshire County, but the GSD Staff can guarantee that there aren't too many students complaining, especially those 12th Graders who don't have to make up any snow days.

How's that look, South County?
Before you start making your plans for a snow day Thursday, keep in mind that there is a chance that this storm could slide out to sea and leave us with a paltry 1-3 inches, which might lead to a few delays and not much else. Don't jinx it by getting cocky about it.

You know we'll have more about this developing situation tomorrow, especially if (and when) the NWS gives South County the full Winter Storm Warning at some time tomorrow. Look for it.

Thursday Morning Snow

Today's lesson in school cancellation forecasting is, once again, never underestimate the power of ice in the forecast.

Superintendents are proving to be very skittish this year as almost all schools north of Pittsfield cancelled school for today even though precipitation had not started falling in the county when they made their calls. The big shocker is that we did not hear from Southern Berkshire for this storm.

We continue to be slightly off on our predictions with these ice storms. The GSD Staff would much rather be wrong in the right direction than wrong in the wrong direction, so hopefully you'll forgive us. We will continue to tweak our algorithm and try to do better with these ice storms.

The good news for those south county schools left out of the fun today--your next chance for a shorter day (or no day at all) is Thursday. We have a developing coastal storm for Wednesday night and Thursday morning. This storm will be much easier to predict.  The cold air is in place for an all-snow event. The storm will either hug the coast or it won't. The European model brings it closer to the coast; the North American model takes it farther out to sea. If it does hug the coast, we could see moderate snow in south county with very good timing. We would see 1-3 inches in the northern half of the county and 3-5 in the southern half.

Our next storm. Image courtesy of Accuweather's Bernie Rayno.
The track of the storm will be impacted by how today's storm does, so we'll be able to tighten up our forecast for Thursday morning tomorrow when we get more info from our valuable sources.

Enjoy the day, if you have it off. The snow started around 8 AM at the GSD Home Office and we're yet to see sleet. Enjoy it while it lasts because it will be all rain by later this afternoon.

Tuesday Cancellations

The precipitation should arrive in Berkshire County around the start of school of high schools. The commute for elementary schools should be messier. It will be cold enough in almost all locations for the precipitation to start as a mix of snow and sleet, and then we'll just have to see how long it all lasts until the eventual changeover to rain at some point in the afternoon or early evening.

Our brethren to the east in Pioneer Valley have largely decided to go with the full snow day. Right now we only several cancellations in Berkshire County. We'll update as calls come in.

SNOW DAY:

Adams-Cheshire
BArT
Berkshire Community College
Central Berkshire
Clarksburg
Emma Miller (Savoy)
Gabriel Abbott (Florida)
Hancock
Lanesborough
Mohawk Trail
Mount Greylock
North Adams
Northern Berkshire Vocational (McCann)
Pine Cobble
Pittsfield
Williamstown

Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday Night Maps...And, Yes, Cancellations

Exhibits A, B and C why you should set your alarms for tomorrow:

From Channel 22 in Springfield

From Tim Drawbridge at Channel 10 in Albany

From Channel 13 in Albany
Despite these disappointing maps, we do have a few early cancellations to report. Gabriel Abbott Memorial in Florida has cancelled for tomorrow--not surprising, given the elevation there--and to our east, Gateway Regional has called in the full snow day.

We'll run our regular list of snow days tomorrow morning should more get called in.

What To Expect For Tuesday

The latest round of info we've gathered is trending in a better direction for those who desire another snow day, and we're assuming that is you, dear reader.

The NWS has made a slight change to the end of the Winter Weather Advisory. It will now end at 1 AM (Wednesday) instead of 7 PM Tuesday. Even though you would think this change has no bearing on whether or not we will have a snow day on Tuesday, it actually does. It means that the forecasters looking at the models think it's going to stay colder longer. In fact, one of our trusted sources believes that portions of eastern Berkshire County may not reach 33 degrees until midnight on Tuesday. 

Because it is supposed to stay colder longer, we will see 1 inch of snow south of I-90 and 2 inches or so north of I-90, especially in the higher elevations and eastern Berkshire county. And then the changeover will take place around noon. More importantly, the period of sleet and freezing rain should extend to the mid-afternoon hours. Because icy driving conditions could exist at the end of the school day, we could see several Superintendents make the decision to keep students home because of the unpredictability of driving conditions in sleet and freezing rain.

The expected ice accumulation during the day tomorrow. North Adams, Adams/Cheshire, Central Berkshire have a better chance for snow days tomorrow than others if this map proves to be accurate.
So, the decision tomorrow morning appears that it will be based on expected snow/sleet, not on what the conditions are like when Superintendents wake up. There's an outside chance that precipitation will start around 7 AM, but it is more likely to begin in the 8:30 to 10:00 AM window for most of Berkshire County. Delays don't make sense, and because of the higher likelihood for snow and sleet at noon, the early release is also likely out of the question.

We will reluctantly bump up the True North Confidence Meter a few ticks, but in no way should students bank on a snow day tomorrow. We heard rumors of students planning to host sleepovers and to blow off their homework. That is outrageously bold behavior and in no way do we condone it. Our confidence for county-wide cancellations is still low.

We'll repeat what we said earlier--so much of this decision will come down to the prudence and/or courage of your Superintendent.  

If we learn anything new, we'll update you by 10 PM.

Winter Weather Advisory for Tuesday

We have a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for the Berkshires tomorrow between the hours of 7 AM and  7 PM.

Let's just say that there's nothing the GSD Staff likes about this storm. The two parts of it are not phasing the way we thought it would; the timing is getting later with each run of the models; and the expected precipitation totals are down.

The only redeemable quality of this storm is ice, ice, baby. So, this is all going to come down to the intestinal fortitude of the Superintendents and what they see when the look out their windows tomorrow morning.

Scenario A: they see no snow or sleet and, taking a gamble that the frozen precipitation will change to rain by the end of the school day, they elect to have a full day of school.

Scenario B: It's starting to snow when they wake up and meteorologists are still calling for snow, sleet, and freezing rain to last into the afternoon hours. It's all too risky so they cancel school.

Unfortunately, the latest info that we've gathered makes scenario A more likely. We are lowering the True North Confidence Meter.

We feel strongly that this will be an all-or-nothing storm. You'll get a full day of school or a full day off.

Maps to come later. And also information about a developing Wednesday night/Thursday morning coastal storm.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Tuesday Storm: All You Need to Know

Typically with a big winter storm, the jet stream starts in the Northwest, dips down into Texas and the Southeastern states, and then curls back toward the Northeast along the coast. This is the classic U-shape in the jet stream over the continental US that generates nor'easters and blockbuster storms.

For Tuesday's storm, we will have that same U-shape jet stream. Unfortunately, this jet stream will set up much farther to the west. The south-to-north flow will take place over the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, not along the coast.

This means that warm air is going to pour into our area once the storm really gets going and any frozen precipitation will change to rain.

But, there are two very appealing aspects of this storm. The timing is great and there will be enough cold air in place for the storm to begin as snow.



Snow will start after midnight on Monday but before the morning commute on Tuesday. We will see a few inches of snow before sleet mixes in. We will likely also experience a period of freezing rain before the changeover to all rain in the afternoon on Tuesday. Right now we expect to be something along these lings: snow from 3 AM to 8 AM; sleet from 8 AM to 11 AM; freezing rain from 11 AM to 1 PM; all rain after 1 PM. These times could easily change, and we could some stopping and starting to all of this mess as the latest models show the storm may not be as tightly organized as forecasters originally thought.

That's a lot of precipitation expected for our area on Tuesday. We're just outside that .83 zone.
The expected amount of liquid precipitation for this storm is high--around .75 inches. If this were to be an all snow event, we would see 8-10 inches of snow. But because of the changeover, we only expect a 2-3 inches.

The further north you go, the longer the frozen precipitation will hold on.

So, the million dollar question: a snow day for Tuesday? Tuesday has been our lucky day this winter. That's working for us. Also, the threat of ice usually doubles or even triples our chances for snow days. If the storm does what it's supposed to do, we will see widespread snow days on Tuesday given the excellent timing of the storm. The chance for a full snow day will be higher for schools north of I-90. Also, because of the forecast for sleet throughout the day, we think Superintendents will call in a snow day or nothing at all.

The staff is gathering to watch the big national cultural event this evening so it's unlikely we'll post later today, unless, of course, Southern Berkshire calls in the Tuesday snow day tonight. But we will have plenty of information to share tomorrow.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sorting Out the Active Weather Pattern

It sure is going to be busy around these parts for the next 9 or 10 days, and we at GSD will happily sort it all out for you so you can plan your busy winter schedules.

We did not end up getting the real cold snap we thought we might (single digits) for the end of this week, so temperatures are pretty much right where they should be for this time of year: mid-20s for highs; teens for lows.

We will see a warm-up in the middle of next week, which is going to complicate the forecast for Wednesday.

Speaking of Wednesday, that's the day we're eyeing as the one with the best chance for some kind of shorter school day.

But let's start from the beginning. This weekend--if it is going to snow, that snow will fall on Sunday. We only expect a few showers in the afternoon, with less than an inch of accumulation. The "big storm" we were hoping for earlier in the week will only be enjoyed by hearty mariners and aquatic creatures.

There are strong indications that we will see a shovelable amount of snow on Tuesday. The problems are that it will start in the middle of the day and that temps will warm up as the day goes along, changing our moderate snow storm to a snow/sleet/rain event. The big question will be how long the frozen precipitation lasts before the conversion. We have no idea right now if it will last into the Wednesday morning commute, but obviously that's what we're pulling for.

We could see a brief changeover from rain back to snow on Wednesday afternoon, and then it will be quiet for a few days until more light snow is expected on Saturday with some accumulation.

Once again we're looking at a Tuesday/Wednesday event with possible delays and snow days on Wednesday. This has been the favored storm timing this winter season.

Did you know there are only 11 school days until February vacation? The tempus sure is fugitting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Delays for Wednesday

The snow is still coming down in the northern half of Berkshire County, but it will be stopping within the next few hours. Roads are snow-covered at the GSD Home Office and plows are out there trying to make the roads clear. The snow is not heavy so roads are passable if you take your time.

The rest of the day will feature on-again-off-again snow showers with little accumulation.

We do have a few delays this morning, and, yes, one of them is Southern Berkshire. Should more schools add their names to the list, you'll find them here.

TWO-HOUR DELAY

Adams-Cheshire
BArT
Central Berkshire
Clarksburg
Emma Miller (Savoy)
Gabriel Abbott Memorial (Florida)
Hancock
Lanesborough
Mount Greylock
Northern Berkshire Vocational (McCann)
North Adams
Pittsfield
Southern Berkshire
Southwest Vermont SU (Mt. Anthony)
Williamstown