Winter not likely to appear anytime soon in Berkshires

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The virtual no-show, no-snow winter shows no sign of making a late entrance onto the weather stage in the Berkshires and nearby bare-ground regions.

That's the discouraging word — at least for winter-sports enthusiasts — from the National Weather Service, where the government agency's Climate Prediction Center outside Washington, D.C., foresees continuing above-normal temperatures and rain rather than snow, at least for the next week or two.

On Wednesday, a spring-like rainstorm with temperatures in the 50s is expected to wash away the few remaining traces of the season's snowfall, a paltry 5 inches at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, compared to an average of 42 inches for October through January since 1938.

Based on weather records at the airport and at the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., only the 2006-07 season saw so little snowfall through January. But from February through April of 2007, winter came roaring back with a total of 53 inches.

At AccuWeather.com, long-range meteorologist Paul Pastelok's outlook for the rest of the season indicates at least the potential for a late-winter snowstorm.

But it's a cautious prediction, he acknowledged. "There could be a last surge of winter before we see the transition into spring," he stated in an online posting. "For the Northeast, there's still an opportunity for some snow, although there's a higher chance that we'll see a cold snap rather than a big snowstorm."

But by mid-March, he added, a quick warmup is expected, with milder air arriving sooner than in the past two years.

"A lack of arctic air in the region and the sun getting higher and higher in the sky will make it feel pretty nice in the Northeast," Pastelok said.

Ironically, Boston has had twice as much snow as the Berkshires so far, while the New York metro area is in a final, slushy, mild-weather meltdown from the Jan. 23-24 near-blizzard that dumped 26.8 inches on Central Park, just shy of the all-time heaviest winter storm in the city since records began in 1870.

Government forecasters in Albany list the winter of 1912-13 as the least snowiest in the region, with just under 14 inches. The runner-up, with 19 inches, was the 1988-89 season.

Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.


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