Winter storm warning

A winter storm warning will take effect Thursday night for the northern Berkshires. 

An unusual storm for mid-April could dump heavy, wet snow over portions of the Berkshires by midday Friday, with the highest amounts from Pittsfield north into southern Vermont, especially in elevations above 1,500 feet.

A winter storm warning for the northern half of the county, in effect from 8 p.m. Thursday until 2 a.m. Saturday, calls for total accumulations of 5 to 10 inches.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible, and some power outages are possible,” according to the National Weather Service.

South of Pittsfield, a winter weather advisory indicates 3 to 6 inches, with potentially slippery road conditions.

Before the expected changeover to snow or a wintry mix Thursday night, a moderate to heavy rainfall was forecast for the region.

An intense storm over the Great Lakes early Thursday was expected to move into the Northeast, merging with a coastal system taking shape off the New Jersey shore.

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High temperatures Thursday will be below normal, in the 40s, before dropping into the 30s after dark.

With the ground still warm from days of far-above-normal highs, accumulations in valley areas are likely to be limited to unpaved surfaces. At higher elevations in the hilltowns, especially in North County, snow could stick to roadways, forecasters said.

By Friday night, rain and snow should end as the coastal storm system pulls further offshore and away from the region.

The weekend looks drier and tranquil, with daytime highs in the mid-40s, leading to a rapid snowmelt wherever accumulations occur.

Overall liquid precipitation of 1 to 2 inches expected from the storm would help ward off an intensifying drought, since rainfall since Jan. 1 in Berkshire County has been about half the normal amount.

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