Thursday November 8, 2012

A swath of wind-swept snow moved into the Berkshires as predicted late Wednesday afternoon, making road conditions hazardous throughout the county.

Emergency vehicle sirens were heard often as snow fell Wednesday evening, and calls poured in to dispatchers reporting numerous minor accidents, stuck vehicles and road closures.

Reports of vehicles sliding off icy roads and getting stuck be gan as early as 3 p.m. in Becket and Otis, according to a Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher.

A reported head-on collision on Cheshire Road at around 4:50 p.m. resulted in no serious injuries, according to Pittsfield Police Sgt. John Murphy.

Route 9 in Windsor was shut down for about a half-hour after two cars slid off the icy road just after 5 p.m., according to the Dalton dispatcher. State officials sanded the roads, referred to by the dispatcher as "almost a sheet of ice," to make it less slick.

"No injuries, nobody transported to the hospital," the dispatcher said. "Just mainly icy road conditions with cars sliding."

The speed limit was reduced on the Mass Turnpike from the New York state line to Exit 11 because of the impending inclement weather on Wed nesday afternoon, according to reports from The Associated Press.

Snowfall was predicted anywhere from 2 to 6 inches and expected to cause dusting and drifting against the 10 to 20 mph northeast winds, which could occasionally reach 25 to 35 mph winds in higher elevation.

"That gradient of snow will continue to pick up into the overnight hours," said Ian Lee, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Albany. "Obviously that’s going to cause slippery conditions and low visibility."

A winter weather advisory was in effect until 7 a.m. this morning.

Still, the storm was expected to pose little more than short-term inconvenience. Temp eratures hovered around the lower 30s Wednesday, but are expected to rise to the 40s today, according to Lee,

"We should expect to see clearing conditions by the afternoon," he said. "Maybe a couple of lingering flurries, but by the afternoon it’ll start to clear out."

Leftover snow will almost certainly be melted away by Monday, when temperatures will spike back up to possibly the low 60s. It’ll give a reprieve to people like Cassandra Redd, who was walking along downtown Pittsfield on Wednesday wearing three layers of clothing and a scarf in order to stay warm against the bitter chill.

"It’s not too bad yet," Redd said. "I like fall whether, when it’s chilly but not freezing."

Of the impending snow, Redd said, "I’ll probably just go home and stay there."

To reach Adam Poulisse:
apoulisse@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6214.
On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse

Snow problem?

THE BAD: Expect 2 to 6 inches of snow across the region by later today, accompanied by 10 to 20 mph winds, gusting to 25 to 35 mph in higher elevations, and hazardous road conditions.

THE GOOD: The snow should melt quickly, as temperatures are expected to rise into the 40s today and the high 50s

or low 60s by Monday.