A heavier-than-expected snowfall coated the Berkshires on Tuesday, causing slick roads as temperatures fell from the low 30s into the mid-20s.
The initial forecast had measurable snow confined to Great Barrington and points south. But by mid-afternoon, accumulations of between 1 and 3 inches had blanketed most of the county, according to local officials and the National Weather Service office in Albany, N.Y.
"There was more enhancement of the snow than we expected," said NWS meteorologist Ingrid Amberger.
The Berkshires and nearby counties were on the western fringe of a moderate snowstorm off the mid-Atlantic coast, moving eastward well south of Long Island, N.Y.
By nightfall, the snow had tapered off, with parts of South County close to the 3-inch snowfall amount.
Meanwhile, local and state police reported several fender benders and vehicles skidding off area roads, but no serious accidents.
Authorities say the brunt of the storm occurring between the morning and afternoon commute kept accidents to a minimum.
The storm's midday timing also helped municipal and state highway crews keep the roads salted, sanded and plowed through the afternoon commute.
"The temperatures stayed around 25 to 30 degrees; salt works really well at those temperatures," said Great Barrington DPW Superintendent Joe Sokul.
There may be more outbreaks of snow Wednesday afternoon and evening as the leading edge of an Arctic air mass heads across the area, followed by dry but frigid conditions Thursday into Saturday.
A potentially significant storm is in the long-range outlook for Saturday night into Sunday, according to the forecasters. The amount of snow depends on a potential wintry mix with sleet and freezing rain as temperatures could return to the 30s.
Local highway officials say they're ready for the full force of Mother Nature.
"All our plows are set, sanders are set and the salt shed is full -- we're ready to tackle what's next," said Lee's Assistant DPW Superintendent Dennis Kelly,
Tuesday's storm caused widespread school and government closures in the nation's capital and elsewhere along the Eastern Seaboard, the Associated Press reported. State police in Connecticut said there had been 83 crashes by late morning, with eight minor injuries.
Some schools in Connecticut were closed, while a few districts in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts planned early dismissals or canceled afternoon activities.
Flight delays were reported in Boston, New York, Newark and Philadelphia. According to flightaware.com, more than 1,000 flights had been canceled nationwide by early afternoon, with many of the routes still flying encountering severe delays.