The first winter storm of 2014 is expected to bring up to a foot of snow to the Berkshires over the next two days.

The National Weather Service Office in Albany has issued a winter storm watch for the entire region, with the potential for six or more inches of snow from late tonight into Friday morning. Some areas could receive up to a foot.

Meteorologist Hugh Johnson said the watch likely will be upgraded to a warning, as more weather data comes in for what he anticipates will be a "typical winter storm" for the area.

"The storm moving up the coast will have an indirect impact on us, but it will interact with the upper level low to the north, bringing us a prolonged period of snow," Johnson said. "We see this combination at least once during the winter."

Prior to the main event, forecasters expect flurries and occasional snow showers this afternoon for eastern New York and western New England. The steady snow from the dual storm systems should arrive around midnight, intensify at times on Thursday and taper off or end by noon on Friday.

The storm’s timing has local school superintendents watching the forecasts carefully, as classes are scheduled to resume Thursday for Berkshire schools districts, following a nearly two-week break for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. So far, no reports of school delays or cancellations have been received by The Eagle.

Once the storm moves on, sub-zero weather will grip the region, with daytime temperatures on Friday in the single digits, dropping as low as minus 15 degrees by daybreak on Saturday.

To reach Dick Lindsay:

rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,

or (413) 496-6233