Berkshires dig out again after two-act nor'easter
Photo Gallery: Photos from the Snowstorm Aftermath
As wind-blown snow continued to whip up whiteouts in some spots, the big digout continued on Friday following a nor'easter that blasted the Berkshires with as much as 21 inches of snow.
As the intense storm off the New England coast headed into the Canadian Maritimes, shafts of sunlight broke through in the Berkshires, alternating with blowing snow, lingering flurries and brief squalls at the higher elevations.
State and local highway crews, augmented by private contractors, were out in force clearing main and secondary roads for the second time in two days as the second stage of the storm crashed through overnight after a lull Thursday evening.
Most businesses opened their doors, some later than usual, on Friday, as did libraries, museums and other destinations. Others opted to play it safe.
While many school districts held off on making a decision on whether or not classes would be in session until Friday morning, by 6:30 every district in the Berkshires had canceled school -- most for a second day in a row. Many districts have exceeded their allotted snow days, resulting in the prospect of an extended school calendar in June.
Berkshire Community College also closed for the day.
The storm also closed several nonprofit agencies, including the Berkshire Community Action Council offices, the Berkshire Food Project, Adult Day Health in North Adam and Elder Services' Meals on Wheels program. The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition canceled its monthly forum. The Berkshire Museum also remained closed and canceled all of its events.
Trash pickup in Pittsfield was delayed a day and the North Adams Transfer Station was closed.
Other agencies, banks, government offices and museums opted to open later in the day. Most local bank branches opened by 10 a.m. The Norman Rockwell Museum delayed opening until noon.
Municipal offices, public libraries and senior centers in Adams and North Adams opened at 11 a.m. Berkshire Rides, a nonprofit that provides job-related transportation to low-income individuals, delayed its opening until 2 p.m.
Although more than 20 inches was reported in Becket, most Berkshire locations saw much smaller amounts, with 16 inches in Lanesborough, 10 inches in Pittsfield and less than 9 inches in Stockbridge. It was a different story across the border in New York state, with many Greene and Albany county communities reporting more than 2 feet of snow.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory through 6 p.m. Friday, but winter-weary residents can expect a break next week as temperatures warm into the 40s by Wednesday. Along the way, two minor snowfalls are expected on Saturday and Monday night.
The advisory warned of blowing and drifting snow through the afternoon on Friday, covering some roads that had been cleared earlier. Slick roadways with reduced visibility slowed drivers to a crawl in exposed areas as west to northwest winds gusted as high as 35 to 45 miles an hour.
Although it's the last thing winter-weary residents want to hear, government forecaster Hugh Johnson at the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., said another, though far less-intense storm, could bring a light to possibly moderate "nuisance-type snowfall" to the area Saturday, with 1 to 4 inches by nightfall.
After a two-day break with dry but still cold weather -- lows could hit zero or slightly below Sunday night -- another brief outbreak of snow or a wintry mix could move in Monday night into midday Tuesday.
But then, milder air from the Pacific Ocean should end the two-week bout of below-freezing chill, with highs into the low or even mid-40s on Wednesday and especially Thursday and a one-in-three chance of rain showers.
To contact Clarence Fanto:
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Here are 38-hour storm totals compiled by the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., from observers, spotters and airport measurements as of noon on Friday:
- Becket 21 inches
- Lanesborough 16 inches
- Williamstown 15 inches
- Adams 14.7 inches
- Lenox 11.2 inches
- Great Barrington 11 inches
- Lee 10 inches
- Pittsfield (spotter) 10 inches
- Pittsfield Municipal Airport 9.6 inches
- Clarksburg 9.5 inches
- Stockbridge 8.5 inches
- North Adams (Harriman & West Airport) 8.4 inches
Sources: National Weather Service; trained spotters; Channel 6 observers; social media.
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