Big Storm Brewing

By Tuesday morning… Bombogenesis. The Hudson Valley continues to be plastered by heavy snow and wind. Travel anywhere from Atlantic City NJ to southern Maine will be impossible. Snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour will be common. Blizzard Conditions across New England will drift the snow over 5 to 7 feet.

By Tuesday morning… Bombogenesis. The Hudson Valley continues to be plastered by heavy snow and wind. Travel anywhere from Atlantic City NJ to southern Maine will be impossible. Snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour will be common. Blizzard Conditions across New England will drift the snow over 5 to 7 feet.

Bombogenesis – that’s the wonderful word that the indispensable (for our region at least) forecasters and watchers at Hudson Valley Weather introduced me to a few years back.

It’s a meteorological term meaning rapid or extreme cyclogenesis often characterized by a barometric pressure drop of 24 millibars in a 24 hour period.

And cyclogenenis means  the process which leads to the formation of tropical storms, cyclones and hurricanes and  typically involves an interaction that leads to vertical wind shear.

When I arrived at PDS there was considerable anxiety about whether I – as a new head and from the big city where snow days are rare – would fully understand my school closing responsibilities.  I got up to speed soon enough.

These days it means setting the alarm early and then usually waking up before it goes off to check the weather and monitor the local school districts. They have people out checking for hazardous road conditions. Our students come from all points of the compass and that can mean widely varying conditions across the region. It can be clear in Cold Spring, balmy in Beacon, ice pellets in New Paltz  a blizzard in Onteora and wintry mix in Wappingers. You get the idea. And Poughkeepsie is not much help as a guide because most Poughkeepsie CSD students are in walking distance and not so adversely affected by driving conditions.

My partner in crime Christina Powers does the same and together we make the call for: Nothing happening, Late Start or School Closed. And then Christina activates the multiple channels through which we get out the word – text message, website, phone message, cancellations.com., radio stations, Facebook,  Twitter and etc.

And if we think it’s obvious the day before we call it then and everyone gets to sleep late.

Will there be a snow day?  Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 1.04.15 PM

Another much watched aid to prediction is the Snow Day Calculator   – created by David Sukhin, when he was in sixth grade.

The prediction for Tuesday as of right now – Sunday – is 99%.

It looks like a school closing is on the way for Tuesday.

We will try to confirm our decision as early as possible so families can plan.

2011 was a big year for snow and it was the year we really began to hone our snow day study program for older students (see links below).

Snow may close school but does not stop the learning. Students will be reminded that in addition to helping with the shoveling, school goes on. And of course – we have to make time for play.

Chance of Snow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAre we having a snow day tomorrow? Is school going to be closed because of the snow? What are the chances of no school tomorrow? When snow is forecast the day is punctuated with the buzz of questions like these. I love the assumption that, as head of school, I can somehow predict the future […]

Snow Days and Disruption: An open letter to families

Winter dawnDear PDS Families: A few lines (with minor edits)  from division in-boxes and my twitter feed: Student: I just wanted to say how I’ve never been so productive or so academically aware on a Snow day. I’ve been working all day today and yesterday making up work for the D day and other classes. I feel home schooled. I […]

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