Wintry blast could bring single-digit temperatures to Berkshires this weekend

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It might come as a rude awakening, but a wintry blast is about to put an end to a long run of unusually mild weather in the Berkshires that included the warmest October on record locally.

An arctic air mass is set to push into the region before dawn Friday, the legally observed Veterans Day federal and state holiday.

On Saturday, when Veterans Day ceremonies and observances take place, the record early-morning low for Nov. 11 of 11 degrees, set in 1956 at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, could be broken, forecasters at the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., predicted. At dawn, temperatures could be around 6 degrees.

People anticipating the first plowable snow of the season will have to wait, since no significant accumulations beyond a light coating early Friday and early Monday are in the forecast for the next 10 days, according to AccuWeather's long-range outlook.

On Friday, northwest winds gusting close to 35 miles per hour will make it feel like late December, as temperatures remain in the 20s. Early on Saturday morning, lows could plunge to 10 degrees, far below the average low of 30 for Nov. 11, with wind chill readings around zero or slightly below.

A mix of rain and snow Sunday night into Monday is possible from an approaching storm system, said meteorologist Tom Wasula at the National Weather Service. Whether an inch or two of snow at the county's higher elevations greets early risers Monday remains to be seen.

Looking ahead to the busy Thanksgiving week travel period, AccuWeather is reporting a possible "polar vortex" outbreak of frigid arctic air that could trigger a coastal storm with an impact on western New England.

Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather's senior long-range meteorologist, said there's a risk for the first major snowstorm somewhere in the Northeast in the four days leading up to Thanksgiving.

If that forecast pans out, and it's far from certain, it would be music to the ears of ski buffs and ski resort operators in the region.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com or 413-637-2551.

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