Following a series of "teaser" snowfalls, folks in the Berkshires and the rest of the Northeast may be hauling out the shovels and snowplows this weekend.
As much as 6 to 10 inches of snow could fall across the region beginning Saturday afternoon, according to AccuWeather.com. Snow is expected to continue overnight and wind down on Sunday morning.
With a heavy pre-Christmas schedule of public activities this weekend, the impact of the storm will have to be carefully monitored in case postponements or cancellations become necessary.
The storm is tapping into the coldest air of the season so far, according to Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. "Odds favor an extended period of snow Saturday afternoon into Sunday," he added. Roads are likely to be slippery and snow-covered.
The storm is expected to bear down on the region from the Ohio Valley and gain strength off the mid-Atlantic coast, forecasters said. The track and strength of the storm as it heads up the coast will determine how heavy the precipitation becomes.
If it develops to its full potential, Sosnowski pointed out, a heavy accumulation of snow is likely with major travel disruptions.
So far, only 3.3 inches of snow have been measured at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, below normal for the winter-weather season. On average, the county would have seen 10 inches of snow by now. The weekend storm may erase the shortfall.
The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., is calling for a moderate snowfall over the region with a potentially significant impact.
"There's a high likelihood of accumulating snow, enough that people will have to deal with it," said meteorologist Neil Stuart. But since the storm, "a double-barreled mess from the west and from Canada," hasn't even formed yet, it's too early to predict amounts, he added.
If winter weather advisories or winter storm warnings are needed, they would likely be issued on Friday.
"Two days ahead can almost be a lifetime," Stuart noted, when it comes to predicting winter storms. "At least if people want a white pre-Christmas weekend, they'll have one."
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