Thursday, December 28, 2017

Weekend Storm Threat Evaporates But Another One Is In Sight

So, it looks like the North American wins this week's battle of the models. The big storm we were eyeing will now be a dusting or at most an inch in Southern Berkshire County.

The big issue, though, is the cold. It's possible we could stay in the single digits and teens all way through next weekend. If we were to have school on Monday, we would probably see some freeze delays as temps on Monday morning are supposed to bottom out between -8 and -15 for Berkshire County.

As for the snowcast, we might see a flurry Friday night and the aforementioned Saturday dusting. Then, on Wednesday we could see a period of light snow in the evening followed by something much bigger for the end of the week. Again, the meteorological scuttlebutt is centering on a significant coastal storm.

We won't hold our breath on that one, but the one thing for sure is there is plenty of cold air in place for any precipitation to come down as snow and only snow. And because it is so darn cold, the snow-to-liquid ratios will be very high. In other words, we won't need a lot of precipitation to produce many inches of snow.

Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Weekend Storm Uncertainty

There has been a lot of speculation about this weekend's potential snowstorm, but there is very little certainty.

The reason for such meteorological equivocation is a classic showdown between the two major weather models, the European and the North American. The European wants to phase the two storm systems into one more potent one; the North American keeps the storm much farther to our south.

Traditionally we have sided with the European, as have some of our key consultants.

The NWS is going very conservative with the forecast for the weekend storm...so far.
Because there is so much uncertainty, we do not think that this storm is going to pan out and dump a lot of snow on us. We could see 2-4 inches starting late Friday night, but this is a very early and crude attempt to give this storm some kind of identity. As you can see, the NWS is even skeptical about snow for the weekend for our area.

Be aware that we have a Wind Chill Warning in effect for Berkshire County tonight until midday tomorrow. Wind Chill values of -25 degrees are possible in the next 24 hours. If you can swing, just stay indoors.

More about the big Battle of the Models tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cold Snap and Weekend Storm

It's a good time to be a GSD Staffer, as we have lots to talk about.

First up is the bitterly cold air mass that has descended upon us. Goodbye, Temps in the Twenties! We'll see you in about 10 days. 

The next 10 days will be very cold--we'll below normal--and the very worst of those times, when you will not want to be outside for very long, will be this Thursday and next Tuesday. Highs in the single digits on those days, with the lows nearing -10. Yes, this means we will be discussing possible freeze delays for students on Tuesday, but that's a long way off and the weekend storm--if it develops--could scramble things up and change that forecast.

The reason we're entertaining the idea of a big storm this weekend is that key ingredients are in play for the formation of a nor'easter. There are two storms out there, and they could possibly join forces to make a mega-storm on the coast. One storm is fairly weak and will make its way due east out of the plains. The other storm is down there in the Gulf of Mexico and will track northeastward, causing all kinds of problems in the South (ice, mainly) due to the cold air gripping eastern half of the US.

The computer models are all over the place right now, but some of them are predicting the phasing (combining) of these two storms (a.k.a. low pressure systems, pieces of energy) along the mid-Atlantic coast. If that happens, we could see a major New England snowstorm this weekend with some areas getting a foot of snow.

So what do we think? Our collective GSD gut tells us that this strong cold air in place (a.k.a. a high pressure system) will make things much harder for the joining forces of the two storms. Instead, we will see periods of light snow over the weekend but not much consistently moderate to heavy snow. That's just what our gut tells us. Things can change. It's weather. That's what it does.

Enjoy vacation week. Bundle up, especially on Thursday. Try to limit exposed skin to the air during this cold snap.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Winter Storm Warning -- Northern Berkshire County; Winter Weather Advisory -- South County

Sorry for the late post. Staff party, family in town, egg nog, travel, et cetera, et cetera.

If students were in school tomorrow, this would be a 100% guarantee snow day for schools north of I-90, and South County schools would most likely have the day off.

We're expecting 5 to 9 inches for North County and 3 to 7 inches for the rest of the residents in Berkshire County.


Snow will begin around midnight or shortly thereafter. It will be snowing when you wake up. Despite the intensity of the snow, it will be fairly short-lived with the snow ending by mid-afternoon on Santa's big day.

But gusty winds and blowing snow will extend the storm, in a way, into the evening. As the storm whips up the New England coast, it will generate robust gusts out of the north and east, which will stir up the light and fluffy snow well into the evening.

The rest of the week looks quiet, but marrow-chilling temps are looming in the distance. We have several days of brutal cold in store, with expected high temps in the low teens and single digits Wednesday through Tuesday (Jan. 2). Break the skates out--the ponds will be frozen.

Happy Holidays, GSD Followers, and enjoy the snow tomorrow.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

All I Want For Christmas...

It looks like that snow we were supposed to get on Friday has been re-apportioned to Monday. Just yesterday we were talking about a paltry 1-3 inches of snow for Christmas Day, but those forecasts have changed significantly. It looks we're going to get some coastal low development Sunday night, and if you're a regular visitor to this website, you know what that means.


You can expect 4-8 inches of snow throughout Berkshire County. As for the timing, we think it will start snowing between 2 and 4 AM and continue through much of the day on Monday. A good ol' fashioned Christmas Day in New England.

If that news isn't enough for you, we are hearing rumblings about a major storm for next weekend. A nor'easter with 8-12 inches of snow is on the table. Try not to overhype this storm, but you should be aware of the possibility of a big one if you have travel plans during the last weekend of 2017.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Messy Travel Friday Afternoon

Kudos to the districts that called in the early release, as that seemed to be the right call for this storm. The bulk of the snow has stayed to our north so far, but there is a swath of snow and sleet headed our way this afternoon. Final snow totals will likely be well under what was projected.

Precipitation will be light today, but the snow and sleet and freezing rain will make for a slow travel anyway. Sleet and freezing rain should end later tonight (between 9 and 11) but then start up again in the late morning hours tomorrow. Eventually by Saturday afternoon we'll see a changeover to all rain, and unfortunately it will be steady. That is some bad news for cross country ski aficionados.

But if you like waking up to snow on Christmas day, 2017 is your year. While the snow will not be heavy (1-2 inches), it will be enough to set the mood and make things look real purty out there.

The only other big weather news for vacation week is the blast of cold air headed our way. We're talking Polar Vortex cold air. The meteorological crystal ball is showing highs in the low teens for New Year's weekend, with sub-zero temps at night. Let's hope Santa delivers warm winter weather gear when he makes his way down your chimneys.

Despite the week of vacation in front of us, the GSD Staff never rests. If there are any weather developments in the next ten days, you know where to find us.


December 22 Storm

It's snowing at the GSD Home Office in Williamstown--first plows went by at 4:45 AM--but unfortunately for much of Berkshire County, the snow is taking a break. The cutoff line as of 5 AM looks to be New Ashford.

The radar shows more light snow is on the way and will impact the morning ride to school for most towns in the county. We're still expecting 1-2 inches for South County and 3-4 inches north of Pittsfield by the end of the day.

Here's the 5 AM radar:



You can see that the cut off line is high, thus explaining why all the North County schools have a better crack at a snow day or early release. That piece of precipitation over Oneonta should hit us around 6:30 AM. Will it be enough to get you a delay, snow day or release (or nothing­čśč) is a question only your Superintendent can answer.

We will update this list as delays and cancellations come in, and we do think a few will come in for schools in the northern part of the county.

SNOW DAY:

Gabriel Abbott
Hoosick Falls (NY)
Mohawk Trail
Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union
North Adams
Adams-Cheshire
Emma L. Miller
Northern Berkshire Vocational (McCann)
BArT

EARLY RELEASE:

Mount Greylock/Williamstown/Lanesborough
Farmington River
Central Berkshire





Thursday, December 21, 2017

Friday Storm Evening Report

Timing--very good.
Superintendent--agreeable.
Snow Amount--okay
Amount of learning taking place tomorrow: no comment.

That about sums up the essentials for this storm. What's really fascinating about this storm is the Day-Before-Vacation influence. It's deep in our GSD Prediction Formula. (Believe us, it's in there.) Years of analyses have revealed that Superintendents are 60% more likely to opt for a snow day on a day before the December break than they are before the February break.

Here's a helpful image:


We like what we're seeing from this NWS image. As long as the snow is falling by 5 AM, we should see some impact on the length of the school day. Those with early releases already could see full snow days.

A recent report is raising concerns about how much snow Northern Berkshire will get. Totals might revert back to the 2-4 level. But our sources are telling us that ice is definitely creeping into the consciousnesses (that's a mouthful!) of the Superintendents. We'll have to wait until daybreak to see what the ice forecast is as we get into the morning hours.

The situation is still very much up in the air. We'll have updates starting around 5:30 AM tomorrow.

See our previous post for the latest closings and delays.






Delays and Cancellations for Friday

We will post more weather-related info later tonight, but we wanted to pass along two early decisions by Superintendents that we've learned of. We don't foresee too many other early calls, but we'll add them to this post as they come in. Two-hour delays and early releases could be upgraded tomorrow morning, so stay tuned.

SNOW DAY:

Gabriel Abbott
Hoosick Falls, NY

EARLY RELEASE:

Mount Greylock (11:15)
Lanesborough (11:50)
Williamstown (11:45)
Farmington River


Winter Weather Advisory Upgrade

The GSD Staff just got a little more excited with the most recent update from the National Weather Service. Two important developments: the Winter Weather Advisory has been expanded to Southern County, and the North County Advisory has increased projected snow totals from 2-4 inches to 3-6 inches with additional expectations for ice.

The South County Advisory is calling for 1-2 inches but with mixed precipitation. As they say, ice is nice.

The bump in the North County snowcast suggests there will be enough sustained frozen precipitation during the day on Friday to make for hazardous driving conditions for the ride in and the ride home.

Here are some of the latest maps for your perusal:





We certainly like this way the storm is trending. We'll bump up the True North Confidence Meter to 50% for North County (NC) and 30% for South County (SC). We also think delays are possible tomorrow in South County for those schools that have school. But because precipitation is expected throughout the day on Friday, delays in general will be limited.

This is probably a "snow-day-or-bust" scenario for Mount Greylock, Adams-Cheshire, North Adams, BArT, McCann and Central Berkshire. The others will be touch and go and will have to get very lucky. But it's possible.

Winter Weather Advisory for Northern Berkshire

The NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Northern Berkshire only starting at 3 AM tomorrow, which calls for 2-4 inches of snow.

The timing of our storm just improved slightly. Forecasters are saying that snow will be falling around 5 AM tomorrow. If snow days are going to happen tomorrow, this is critical step one. The earlier the snow starts, the better your chances for an extended vacation.

A noncommital map from our friends at Accuweather.
The GSD Staff is hesitant to forecast County-wide cancellations tomorrow because of the low forecast totals, but we do like the timing better now this morning.

For planning purposes, a second part of the storm could make travel slow tomorrow night for all of you holiday party revelers. Ice is in the forecast for Berkshire County, with more expected to the north. We could see a prolonged period of light sleet and freezing rain Friday night into the mid-morning hours of Saturday. Eventually, everything changes over to rain before the next cold front and storm move in. We'll have more later about when on Saturday the changeover to rain will occur.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Friday Snow Event

We're still on track for a measurable and plowable snow on Friday. Here's the latest snow map from the National Weather Service:

Will it be enough to extend vacation?
This map tends to change frequently, and we'll share their updates as they come in (usually three or four times a day).

The news we're hearing about the snow on Friday is that the cutoff line between school-canceling snow and very light snow will be very definitive. Right now I-90 is the cutoff line. South County schools are in danger of having a full day of school (except Southern Berkshire, which already has a scheduled day off. Yay for them.) Pittsfield and Central Berkshire and schools districts to the north will be in nail-biting mode on Friday morning.

The big question--aside from the relative generosity of your Superintendent--is the timing of the start of the snow. Snow around 5 AM will be great. If the snow starts around 9, we're looking at a full day of school for just about everybody. Our resources are telling us it will be very, very close to starting at 5 AM. As we process more information from the forecast models, we should be able to pinpoint the start of the storm better.

Check in tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll have good news to report. And we'll also have some info about travel plans for the weekend.

Friday Gift-Giving

The feel of winter will return today after a spring-like Tuesday. A cold front is moving through this morning, which could trigger a few snow showers. A dusting is possible, especially in South County before or during the morning commute.

There is good news to report. The GSD Staff has its full attention on a developing situation on Friday. Most of the models, especially the Euro, are forecasting a snowy Friday, with possible moderate snow during the day. We're seeing predictions for as low as 1" and as high as 5" for Friday. As of now, it looks like the northern half of Berkshire County will receive the bulk of the snow, with lesser amounts and even some freezing rain and sleet mixing in in the southern half.

The key, as always, will be the timing. Again, that looks good with meteorologists we trust telling us the morning commute will be affected.

So, our prevailing wisdom is that this storm is going to come down to the size of the heart of your Superintendent. A normal storm has three important factors, all of which are equally important: the timing of the storm, the amount of snow, and state of mind of the Superintendent. Because Friday is the last day before a long vacation, the formula skews toward the Superintendent's state of mind and what kind of mood he or she is in.

A Superintendent in a generous, gift-giving spirit could easily call in a snow day because of the messy conditions forecasted for the commute and the ride home and because almost all of us haven't had any snow days yet. Enjoy your extended vacation, they'll say, as they rack up a few "I'm-a-good- person" points for themselves.

A more Grinch-like Supertindent will ask students to suck it up and get to school because the roads will be snow-covered but not that bad. This Superintendent is still scarred from last year's snow day bonanza (six or seven days off in most cases). If your Superintendent has been in his or her position for a long time and/or has just signed a contract extension, have fun at school.

This all presumes the storm is going to do what we think it's going to do, which is bring us periods of moderate snow during the first half of the day on Friday.

If students were smart, and there are many of you out there, you would start a letter writing campaign immediately. You would explain to your Superintendent how nice you and your classmates have been, what good deeds you've done around the school, and ask very nicely (please, pretty please, and all that) for the one thing you want this holiday season. (One piece of advice with this strategy: the Superintendent will likely check with the Assistant Principal to see if you're on the naughty or nice list, so you may want to coordinate with your classmates who exactly sends letters in. You don't want things to backfire.)

There will be much more to come on this developing storm in the next 36 hours.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pre-Vacation Snow Outlook

It's hard to believe we're already nearing the December vacation week, but here we are. If there truly were a snow god/dess out there somewhere, he or she might reward us with a delay or snow day, but it's not looking likely.

We have two opportunities for delays this week. Tomorrow morning should be snowy. Because it's been so cold, any snow that falls will immediately stick to roads. Commuters will have to use caution, but it shouldn't be too bad because there isn't much moisture associated with this system. Our more cautious Superintendents might call in delays if they get a scary report from their road crews chief.

The other opportunity is on Friday. It's likely to start too late to affect the length of the school day, but we're seeing some signs that snow could start before the commute on Friday. We're too far away from that snow event to encourage you or discourage you about it. We'll know more in the middle of the week.

Keep half an eye open tomorrow morning for a possible delay.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Alberta Clipper Tonight

If you enjoy having snow for Santa's big day, then this is your year. Today's cold temps will lock in over the next few days, so the current few inches that are on the ground aren't going anywhere. There will be normal erosion and evaporation of the snow, but we should get enough short bursts of an inch or two in the next week or so to keep the ground covered through the end of next week.

Speaking of bursts of an inch or two, we could see another bout of snow in the Bershires tonight. An Alberta Clipper will rip across our area from the northwest and set off a period of snow from 2 AM to 6 PM. The snow will be very light and could possibly impact the morning commute. It's possible there's a very cautious Superintendent out there who would call in a delay tomorrow, but the GSD Staff does not think that that is likely.

The good news is that our meteorological crystal ball sees three more opportunities for snow in the next 10 days. There is a chance for snow Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week. Unfortunately, these are all Clipper-type events with not much in the way of coastal low support to bump them up to moderate or major snow storms.

This means snow totals will be generally light--1 to 3 inches--and unlikely to cause cancellations. Certainly, the possibility for multiple delays exists on all three of those days if the timing is right.

We'll have more soon.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory Extension for Northern Berkshire County

The Winter Weather Advisory that was supposed to end at 7 AM has been extended to noon on Wednesday for Northern Berkshire County. Those of you begging for some kind of school-shortening decision tomorrow morning just got a big boost. The chance for a delay has increased not insignificantly for the top half of the County.

This extension is actually more of a new Advisory. With the passage of the cold front through our area and enough moisture in the air, the winds will cause upslope snow. The prediction is for 2-5 new inches overnight.

Delays for Northern Berkshire are indeed possible tomorrow.
Something else to factor in tomorrow--we will have a Wind Advisory in effect from 7 AM to 7 PM. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph as the cold air moves in and settles around 20 degrees for a high tomorrow. Winter is here to stay.

Predicting upslope snow is like hitting a moving target, but folks in higher elevations will see a few more inches of snow tonight. Schools north of Pittsfield will have a better chance for delays due to the black ice, snow, and wind potential.

We'll run a list starting around 6 AM if there are delays tomorrow. And full snow days seem highly unlikely.

Consolation Prize for Wednesday?

The snow has held on for longer than anticipated, and it continues to come down at the GSD Home Office steadily. We have 2.5 inches on the ground at this point and will likely top out at 4 inches when it's over.

Because snow continues to fall, we've seen most schools cancel afterschool activities for today.

The 2 PM radar. The snow keeps hanging around in Berkshire County. You can see the cold front (north to south) out west past Albany. Numerous intermittent snow showers tonight into tomorrow.
The pressing question is: will there be a 2-hour delay consolation prize on Wednesday?

The simple answer is possibly, but the chance is minimal. A cold front is set to blow through the Berkshires this evening between 6 and 8 PM, triggering numerous squalls and showers. Those showers could persist all the way into the morning commute. With the rapid drop in temperature--we won't see temperatures above freezing until Tuesday (!)--snow over ice on secondary roads could be a problem. While most communities will be able to handle the squalls and ice, a few will not and will call in delays tomorrow.

Perhaps yours will be that school district that needs extra time.

Storm Update for Twelve Twelve

It's snowing very lightly at the GSD Home Office as of 5 AM. Unfortunately, roads are just wet and not snow-covered here in Williamstown. Snow plows have been out.

The 5:15 AM radar. Periods of snow on the way but the heavier snow will fall just to our north.
We should have snow through much of the morning until a possible changeover to rain closer to noon. Snow should be light and it could complicate the morning commute, but if drivers take it slowly and use their past experience driving in the snow to good use, they should be fine. One or two inches is the likely outcome for most folks in and around Berkshire County.

But there are a few delays and snow days to report. We'll update this list as they come in.

SNOW DAY

Mohawk Regional
Gabriel Abbott (Florida)
Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union
Emma Miller Memorial (Savoy)

2-HOUR DELAY

Farmington River Regional



Monday, December 11, 2017

Tuesday Storm Evening Report

All this predicting of snow days is all in good fun and pretty harmless, but what isn't fun at all is what happened in Sandisfield last night: a fire wiped out its Department of Public Works building and all of its snowplows. Here's the article from The Berkshire Eagle.

Sandisfield, as part of the Farmingdale River Regional School District, has announced a 2-hour delay for tomorrow as it will need outside help to clear the roads. (We'll hopefully have more information in the coming days about how people can help out the town should there be appeals for public support.)

As for tomorrow's storm, the GSD Staff is really feeling the pinch on this one. These are not the easiest set of variables for the first call of the season. But that's why we get the big bucks.

So, we're going to role out a very modest--and perhaps too conservative--20% chance of a snow day tomorrow. What does a 1 in 5 chance of a snow day actually mean? In our very complicated and nuanced calculus, it means two things. 1) Tomorrow, you have a much better chance of attending school than not; 2) If there are snow days, 1/5th of Berkshire County schools will be affected.

Here's why you should prepare for school: all the information we processed this afternoon has put this storm in a downward trend. Snow totals for the Winter Weather Advisory were lowered from 3-6 inches to 1-3 inches (with pockets of 5" in higher elevations). And the end of the storm was changed from 7 AM Wednesday to 7 PM Tuesday. And the Winter Storm Watch in Bennington, VT was reduced to a Winter Weather Advisory. And we were alerted that warm air will be nosing its way into the Berkshires in the middle of the day tomorrow and turn the snow to rain for a part of the day for most of the county. These are not good signs.

The 7 PM radar. Not a lot of moisture to work with.
Still, as they were on Saturday, the models could be slightly off, and there just might be enough cold air and lifting of moisture in place at the perfect time to cause a few cancellations. We do think the best chances for snow days will be in the northern half of the county, with Central Berkshire and Adams/Cheshire especially having the best chances for snow days, but the odds are not in students' favor.
The NWS released this map at 4 PM today. If it proves to be right, we'll see more schools get snow days than we are predicting.
We don't like it any more than you do. Perhaps we'll have better news to report in the morning. If this storm doesn't come through, though, you won't have to wait too long for the next chance at a delay or snow day. We're in a very active pattern with plenty of cold air to give us chances for shortened days (or days off) all the way through the 22nd of December. Monday and Wednesday of next week are days already on our radar.

Tuesday Storm Midday Update

There are warning signs all over the place that this storm has bust potential. We know that's not what you want to hear right now, but the GSD Staff insists on being straight with you.

The latest information we're seeing presents a number of potential problems. It will be a fast-moving storm. It won't have a lot of moisture to work with it. And it's more Alberta Clipper than coastal low. Typically, the weather experts do have trouble accurately predicting clippers and how much moisture they can draw from the Atlantic.

We're still seeing low-end predictions of 2-3 inches (Pittsfield and south) and high-end predictions for 5-6 inches (Pittsfield and north). That's a narrow window, which reveals just how limited the moisture is with this storm.

Channel 13 in Albany weighs in.
Our formerly "perfect timing" designation has also withered slightly. It now is merely good, with the potential for the snow to start as late as 6 AM on Tuesday. If only 3-6 inches are predicted at that time--which is likely what's going to happen--we can see many a superintendent be reluctant about pulling the trigger and using up one of his or her precious bullets.

All of the North County schools will have significantly better chances of a snow day tomorrow than their counterparts in the south. Mount Greylock, North Adams, McCann, BArT, Adams/Cheshire, and Central Berkshire are in a better snow zone.

What we're fairly certain about is that students will either have school or have a snow day. The delay only puts students out on the roads when the snow will be coming down the hardest (or close to hardest), so that option would appear to be the least practical.

A lot can change this afternoon and tonight. We'll have one more update later and then make our final prediction around the start of Monday Night Football (8:30).

At this point, the GSD Staff strongly encourages that students prepare for a full day of school tomorrow.

Winter Weather Advisory for Tuesday

As we thought it might, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Berkshire County, effective from 1 AM Tuesday to 1 AM Wednesday.

Hill towns are looking really good for snow days tomorrow.
If this storm behaves the way forecasters think it will, we should see many snow days tomorrow. The timing still looks very good as the snow should be falling at 4 AM when school superintendents start to assess the situation in conjunction with their colleagues and Public Works superintendents.

As long as the forecast for 4-6 inches of snow throughout the day holds up, several--but not all--superintendents will be reluctant to hold school. We're not all in on this storm just yet. There's a lot that could go wrong with it.

We'll keep you updated throughout the day.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tuesday Storm

We have new intel on the Tuesday storm. We still haven't received a Winter Weather Advisory for the Berkshires, but it should be up by Monday morning. At least that's what we think will happen.

There is a Winter Storm Watch in effect for the Saratoga/Rutland areas, and the forecast there is for 8-12 inches of snow. Let's hope the storm takes a jog to the south.

And you're definitely going to like this map, which the NWS just released at 9:00 PM on Sunday.

Thanks, Albany NWS.
That's an encouraging sign for widespread delays and snow days for Tuesday.

Delays or Snow Days Possible For Tuesday

It's go time. We have our first school day-affecting snow situation coming our way on Tuesday. The models are coming into agreement, and it's looking a lot like yesterday's storm, except the heavier snow will be to our north.

A low pressure system will track across the Great Lakes region and then pick up strength on the coast. Because the coastal formation will be more northerly (compared to Saturday's storm), we'll see higher snow totals in Northern Berkshire County and South County will be at the low end.

Right now the timing of this storm looks really good. Snow should break out after midnight, and it all goes well, we'll have a few inches on the ground as Superintendents wake up and have to make a call to hold school or not. We should see the announcement of a Winter Weather Advisory later tonight or even tomorrow morning.

The big question will be the amount of snow. Is three inches enough to cancel school? Will the forecast for continued snow throughout the day spook Superintendents enough to cause them to cancel school? Are Superintendents still reeling from all of the snow days they had to call in last year, thus they will be reluctant if conditions just aren't that bad on Tuesday morning? These are the big questions we'll ponder over the next 36 hours.

This map predicts 3-6" for Berkshire County, south to north.
We do like the way this storm is trending. We need to see the Winter Weather Advisory first before we can get too excited, but the cold air is in place, the timing is great, and there should be enough moisture to force at least widespread delays.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Saturday Snow Details

Just a quick check in to let you know the NWS bumped up snow totals slightly for the Berkshires for Saturday. We're stilling looking at a 7 AM Saturday to 7 AM Sunday window for this potentially moderate storm, and right now the models are predicting 3 to 6 inches for the Berkshires. South County has a better chance to reach 6 inches; North County will be closer to 3.

If you're heading east, you should know that we are seeing a Winter Storm Warning for much of central Mass, and the Warning extends as far west as Southbridge and Ware.

As for timing, the snow will fill in from south to north starting in the late morning hours. We're guessing the first flakes will fall on the Mass/Conn border around 10 AM, Pittsfield around 11 AM, and Williamstown near 12 PM. These times are approximate and could be off by an hour either way. The snow should wrap up some time after midnight, but snow showers could persist all the way to daybreak Sunday.

As for next week, the jury is still out about Tuesday's storm. The last few model runs weren't encouraging, but that's what happened 72 hours in front of tomorrow's storm. The GSD Staff thinks we're in a good pattern for a few weeks, so we won't be surprised to see the models improve our snow chances again (for Tuesday) by Sunday night.

Snow This Weekend: Winter Weather Advisory for the Berkshires

Well, shiver me timbers. Looks like the Snow Gods have decided to shine their smiling faces toward the Berkshires this weekend. That coastal storm that we got excited about earlier in the week and then dismissed? It's apparently back on.

Image courtesy of the National Weather Service, Albany
The storm will move along the New England coast as cold air shoots in from Canada. These two ingredients--moisture and cold air--will combine over the Berkshires to produce 2 to 5 inches of snow. As a result, the NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for our area, with more snow the farther south you go in the County.

The timing of this storm will impact travel, especially in the afternoon hours on Saturday.

The bad news is that forecasters are less bullish about the Tuesday storm we wrote about yesterday. We're still holding out hope for snow, but the timing does not look very good for a delay on Wednesday.

Break out the snow boots for the first snow of the new season!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shovels at the Ready...

It's beginning to look and feel like winter.

Snow flurries greeted the GSD Staff on the morning commute to the Home Office in Williamstown this morning, putting a bounce in the step of your fulltime winter weather brokers.

Good news...we have several chances for measurable snow over the next ten days or so. We'll see a few more flurries today, and then on Sunday we may see longer periods of snow showers that could bring a dusting to the Berkshires.

But the more delicious development is the potential for a coastal storm on Tuesday, perhaps extending into the wheelhouse hours of the morning commute on Wednesday. This storm has the chance to impact the length of the school day on Wednesday. Unfortunately, this is no blockbuster storm. If this storm were to arrive at the end of winter, we wouldn't be worked up about it at all. But because it could possibly be the first plowable snowstorm of the season, there's reason to get a just a smidge tingly all over because of it.

The most optimistic models indicate the potential for 6 inches. The least cooperative models don't quite bring the two energy systems together and we end up with snow showers and perhaps a dusting. It's always good to split the middle this far out in front of a storm, so the GSD Staff is going to (rather cautiously) forecast 3 inches of snow over the course of the day Tuesday, with the snow ending just after midnight. Alas, should this not-so-bold prediction come true, we will not have delays on Wednesday for Berkshire County schools. A near miss.

But we expect a lot more information on this storm, and we'll see what future runs of the storm models bring us in the next 72 hours.

Until then, think very snowy thoughts.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Measurable Snowfall for the Weekend?

What the GSD Staff does when winter refuses to start in a timely manner? Scrabble, crossword puzzles, read the news, twiddle thumbs, hunt for belly button lint. In other words, a lot of nothing.

But we actually have some winter weather news to report. Far on the horizon, we have officially heard the words "forecast" and "snow" used in the same sentences by meteorologists we respect. Eureka.

There is chatter about the possibility for a weekend storm. Unfortunately--[grumble, grumble, grumble]--it's on the weekend, and we're likely not to see a big snow event out of it. The deal is this: we have precipitation headed our way for Saturday. Some models are forecasting a coastal storm. The models we respect are taking it farther to our south; one model that is less reliable is bringing the storm farther north. As for snow, the worst case scenario is no snow at all. The best case scenario is 3 inches.

This is the best we can do for a forecast map for the weekend. The lighter green represents about a 20%-30% chance of a quarter inch of liquid precip, which equates to 3 inches of snow. Woo. Hoo.
So, you can see, there's not a lot to get excited about. Still, we're encouraged that the storm pattern appears to be shifting and colder air should take hold over our area for the next few weeks. A wise GSD Staffer once said, "You can't have snow without cold air in place."

We'll monitor this potential snow situation for you, but we wouldn't suggesting firing up the snowblower just yet.