Monday December 24, 2012

Cue up Bing Crosby; the Berkshires should wake up to a white Christmas on Tuesday.

Area forecasters expect light snow to begin falling late tonight, lasting until about noon on Christmas Day, thanks to a weak storm system from the south redeveloping off the Long Island coast of New York.

"Generally, we will see about 1 to 3 inches, with more in the higher elevations," said meteorologist Brian Furgis with the National Weather Service office in Albany, N.Y.

"It will be cold enough for the snow to stick to the grass and road surfaces," he added.

However, Furgis doesn't expect the snow to cause significant problems for holiday travelers.

The natural snow is welcome news to local ski areas who traditionally look to Christmas week as one of the busiest of the ski season.

"There's no question, snow in backyards gets people in the mood for skiing," said Brian Fairbank, CEO of JIminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock.

Jiminy Peak and the other area ski resorts spent the weekend blasting their mountains with snow guns, replacing the man-made white stuff washed away by Friday's rain storm.

Fairbank said natural snow can only enhance conditions on the slopes.

"It's nice to get 1 to 3 inches, not only psychologically, but the skiing surface is much better with the real thing," he noted.

Meanwhile a more potent, messy winter storm could take aim at the Berkshires for the second half of Christmas week.

As of Sunday night, the outlook called for snow to develop Wednesday afternoon, likely mixing with sleet and freezing rain, as temperatures slowly rise to at or slightly above freezing overnight.

Furgis said he expects the bulk of the precipitation to fall by midday Thursday, with lingering rain and snow showers into Friday as temperatures turn colder heading into the final weekend of 2012.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.