A student walks past a sea of crocuses near the President’s House on the Williams College campus in Williamstown as the steeple of the First
A student walks past a sea of crocuses near the President's House on the Williams College campus in Williamstown as the steeple of the First Congregational Church rises out of the background. Spring arrives at 12:30 a.m. Sunday, but a potential snowstorm could follow later that night. (Gillian Jones — The Berkshire Eagle | photos.berkshireeagle.com)

After a winter season of historic lack of snow and mild temperatures befitting the Carolinas, the arrival of the vernal equinox at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday marks the official start of spring by the calendar.

But the weather wizards have other ideas — a return to winter-like temperatures and the chance of a light to moderate snowfall.

A storm system is expected to form off the Southeast coast and charge up the Atlantic coast late this weekend.

Based on Friday afternoon's computer guidance, the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., is predicting 2 to 4 inches of snow over the Berkshires and in southern Vermont, said meteorologist Ian Lee.

The storm is expected to track farther offshore, east of Cape Cod, than originally predicted, he explained. "We have better confidence now of minimal impacts across the region. If it heads even farther out, most of the region would be spared.

Any snow that does develop would break out late Sunday afternoon and end before noon on Monday.

As has been typical this winter, forecasters acknowledged the inevitable quirkiness of coastal storms that form off the mid-Atlantic states.

"There's a sizable degree of uncertainty," stated Jon Erdman of Weather.com. The private forecasting service is predicting only about one inch of snow for Western New England.


Accuweather.com is forecasting about 4 inches for the region, with the higher totals in south Berkshire and the lower in North County and southern Vermont.

Temperatures will be below normal for the first time in two weeks, with lows around 20 Saturday night and highs only in the low- to mid-30s Sunday and Monday. A return to above-normal 50s is expected at mid-week,

For the three months of winter since Dec. 22, the record books are already set in stone. In Western New England and much of the Northeast, including the Berkshires and southern Vermont, it has been the mildest, least-snowy season on record, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., and the Eagle's 78-year database from Pittsfield Municipal Airport.

Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.

Winter 2015-16 ...

Snowfall: 12.6 inches (as of Friday)

Average snowfall: 78.6 inches

Heaviest snow season: 142.3 inches (2002-03)

Lightest previous snow season: 13.8 inches (1912-13)

Latest snowfall: May 18, 2002 (1.8 inches)

Temperature departure: 6.8 degrees above normal

Days above normal: 61

Days below normal: 23

Warmest: 75 (March 9, record)

Coldest: – 14 (Feb. 21, record)

All-time record low: – 25 (Feb. 15, 1943)

Sources: National Weather Service (1871-2016); Eagle records at Pittsfield Municipal Airport (1938-2016); AccuWeather.com