The nearly bare landscape will be freshened by a light to moderate snowfall expected on Wednesday, beginning before dawn and ending by mid-afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.

Government forecasters hoisted a winter weather advisory for the Berkshires and surrounding areas because of a medium-strength weather system moving up the mid-Atlantic coast tonight and heading out to sea south of Long Island, N.Y., on Wednesday.

The snowfall would be a boon to ski areas just days before one of their busier periods, the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

According to the advisory issued at mid-afternoon on Tuesday for the period from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, the 3- to 6-inch snow accumulation will have the great impact on the Wednesday morning commute to work and school, with snowfall rates approaching one inch per hour between 6 and 9 a.m. The snow will taper off by mid-afternoon.

South Berkshire will see the highest amounts, with northern sections of the county likely to see no more than 3 inches.

Looking ahead, a surge of arctic air will move over the region Thursday night, sending temperatures down to 10 or even lower. No additional snow is expected, and milder temperatures will return for the weekend before another shot of frigid air arrives early next week along with a chance of snow showers. The coldest period of the winter season is likely Sunday night and on Monday.