Thursday, April 15, 2021

Closings, Remote Days and Delays for Friday, April 16

Snow is falling at the GSD Home Office (7 AM) and we have clear streets and about 3/4 of an inch on grassy surfaces. Snow reports in Savoy and Florida show 5-6 inches of snow, as predicted. The temp will climb throughout the day, converting the snow back to rain for most of us below 1500 feet. And it should snow/rain for most of the day.

Here are today's closings and other announcements:


Emma Miller

Gabriel Abbott

Mohawk Trail

North Adams


Child Care of the Berkshires -- OPEN but no transportation for Northern Berkshire

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

In the wee hours on Thursday, NWS Albany has decided to go with a Winter Storm Warning for Northern Berkshire county and a Winter Weather Advisory for denizens south of Pittsfield. These severe weather alerts go into effect at 8 PM this evening.

The amount of liquid precipitation will not be a problem. There will be a lot. The timing of the precipitation will also not be a problem. It's just about perfect for a snow day decision. But the big meteorological problem is the amount of cold air. 

As we indicated earlier in the week, we're not confident about the cold air. But the models are keeping us from fully downplaying the potential severity of this storm. The Euro is now trending upward with its snow prediction (8-10") for the county, and the North American models continue to show off-the-charts snow totals--9-12 inches south and 16-20 inches north. Yes, the models are often wrong, but even if we get half of what the conservative Euro model is predicting, we're still in for a moderate to heavy snowfall. 

But given that this storm is elevation dependent, here's what we are projecting could happen: 

*Schools in the northeast corner of the county--Emma Miller in Savoy, Gabriel Abbott in Florida, Rowe Elementary, Clarksburg, Hoosac Valley schools, maybe North Adams--could have to go fully remote or could call a snow day. 60% chance.

*Central Berkshire has a good chance of a snow day or remote day because of its district's hill towns. 60%.

*Mount Greylock has a lesser chance but the stretch of route 7 around Brodie Mountain will likely be hazardous at some point early Friday. 50%.

*From Pittsfield south, it's probable that snow will accumulate on grassy surfaces and dirt roads but not on paved roads, thus chances of snow or remote days will be limited for those schools. Delays would be a more likely scenario, but we'll have to keep an eye on Farmington River as the elevation there could lead to deeper snow totals. 10% chance for snow days; 40% chance for delays.

In summary, schools on the Vermont border will have a better chance of snow days and remote days. Towns with east-facing slopes will also have a better chance of a day off or remote day. The southwest quadrant of Berkshire County might eke out a delay but probably will be business as usual.

Channel 22 in Springfield weighs in with an assertive forecast.

It's a spring storm, so all of this snow talk could be for naught and be a washout. Regardless of what happens, we need the precipitation. If you happen to get a snow day out of it, then that will be nice pre-vacation gift from Mother Nature.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Spring Storm Update

We're still under a Winter Storm Watch in the Berkshires. Very little has changed to the forecast since yesterday. And because of the relative stability of the forecast, we are starting to think that all parts of Berkshire County will see measurable snow from this event.

Even though the temp will not drop below freezing on Thursday or Friday, there will be enough cold air aloft to convert the precipitation to snow.

East facing slopes in elevations above 1500 feet are expected to see half a foot. The rest of us will be in the 2-4 range. Because of the timing of the storm, the Friday morning commute is likely to be sticky.

The models are still in wide disagreement. The Euro is holding steady with a 3-5" forecast; the two North American models are still bonkers, showing 8-10" in the Berkshires and up to 19" in central Mass. That outcome just seems preposterous, so we are going to favor the Euro for this event.

We're including this North American model (the GFS) in here just for fun. Do not take this model seriously.

Thursday is going to be wet for most of the day. The snow should start to fall after most folks are asleep Thursday night. And we'll know Friday morning whether this storm is a bust or a blockbuster. School officials will have a tough decision to make on Friday, and for some districts that could mean a full snow day.

More tomorrow!