April snow blankets the Berkshires


Photo Gallery | April snowfall

Video | A North Adams snow plow driver's rig after he lost control on glare ice on Leonard Street on Monday morning

Berkshire residents ditched their yard rakes for snow shovels on Monday as the season's most significant snowfall curtailed outdoor spring cleaning and caused numerous non-injurious traffic accidents while forcing several local school districts to shut down.

The second "clipper" system in as many days from the Great Lakes region swept through the Northeast, dumping up to six inches of snow in parts of the county, including Pittsfield, Williamstown and Lanesborough.

Coupled with the 3 to 4 inches that fell mostly on Sunday morning, the two-day total of almost 10 inches nearly doubled the entire winter's total in Pittsfield — previously 12.8 inches.

Monday's snowfall was the most in a 24-hour period this season for most Berkshire cities and towns, leading local and state highway crews to plow, salt and sand the roads throughout the day.

"Our crews and staff have been working hard to keep the roads as safe as possible, but the wet snow and cold temperatures can still make for slippery conditions," said Great Barrington Department of Public Works Superintendent Joe Sokul

The spring snow made for treacherous driving, leading to numerous reports in Great Barrington, Pittsfield and elsewhere of fender-benders and vehicles off the road — all injury-free accidents, according to area police.

The traffic mishaps of note occurred in North Adams, where two school buses slid off the road late morning and required help from city sanding trucks to get back on the road. While police reported no one on the buses was hurt, it was unclear if any children were passengers.

The storm system's timing put area school superintendents in a quandary — whether to declare the rare snow day this academic year.

Based on forecasts of a day-long snowfall, several school district bosses indeed canceled classes for the day, whereas others delayed the start of school by an hour or two.

The Berkshires should be snow-free for at least the next week, but the seven-day weather outlook will be unsettled with fluctuating temperatures and a rainmaker on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service office in Albany, N.Y.

NWS meteorologist Ingrid Amberger said near record lows in the single digits and low teens were possible by Tuesday morning as another blast of arctic air — with less damaging winds— moves into the region.

"It will be very cold with strong winds on Tuesday, but not crazy [like Sunday] and daytime highs near freezing," she said.

Amberger said the next storm system moves in Wednesday night, bringing warmer air and steady rain on Thursday, tappering off to rain/snow showers Friday morning as yet another cold front chills the Berkshire through the weekend.

Highs near 40 are expected Saturday and Sunday.

Adam Shanks contributed to the story

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233


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