Snowstorm drops more than a foot on some parts of Berkshires


The winter's first major snowstorm proved to be little more than an inconvenience for most motorists, a delight for winter enthusiasts and a big headache for those who didn't heed Pittsfield's snow emergency.

Roughly 6 to 12 inches of snow blanketed most of the Berkshires, the lower amounts due to sleet and freezing rain mixed in at times, according to the National Weather Service office in Albany, N.Y.

While the bulk of the precipitation fell Wednesday night until just after daybreak Thursday, light snow and snow showers lingered through late afternoon.

The storm's duration -- not the accumulation -- was the biggest challenge for municipal and state highway crews plowing, salting and sanding the roads.

"My crews have been out since 9 p.m. [Wednesday] night," said Williamstown's public works superintendent, Chris Lemoine. "It hasn't stopped snowing all day making it hard to keep up with snowfall."

As the snow began to taper off and roads cleared by early afternoon, some people opted to trade in their snow shovels and snowblowers for skis and snowboards. The Berkshires' five ski areas reported brisk to steady business on their slopes throughout the day and evening, for those with night skiing.

Despite the slippery conditions throughout the Berkshires, local and state police reported only minor traffic accidents during daylight hours, mainly involving vehicles skidding of roads.

The most serious crash -- though it was unclear if it was weather related -- occurred after dark in Pittsfield when a Chevy Silverado pickup with a plow gouged the passenger side of a Ford F-250 pickup near the intersection of Fourth Street and Lanckton Court. The impact sent the Silverado onto a sidewalk and up against a utility pole. [Read the update on this crash: The names and conditions of both victims were not immediately available.

Meanwhile, the snowfall was a welcome sight for children making the first snowman of the season or sliding down the hillside at Clapp Park in Pittsfield or Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington.

Towing companies in Pittsfield were kept busy as numerous residents failed to observe the on-street parking ban during the city's snow emergency, according to municipal officials.

"Quite a few cars got towed," said Pittsfield Public Utilities Commissioner Bruce I. Collingwood. "Unfortunately, we needed to get them out of the way for efficient snow removal."

Collingwood noted the snow emergency, which expires at 7 a.m. today, was announced by noon on Wednesday, giving residents ample time to find alternate parking as the ban took effect later that night at 11 p.m.

Let it snow ...

Snowfall totals from the Berkshires first winter storm of the season:

Windsor 13.4 inches

Otis 11.5

Adams 10.5

Lanesborough 7.5

North Adams 6.0

Williamstown 6.0

Pittsfield 5.5

Great Barrington 5.2


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