Berkshires' first winter storm

The Pittsfield Highway Department yard off West Housatonic Street may soon spring to life as a storm threatens to dump rain, snow or a mixture across the Berkshires this weekend.

Flake fans champing at the bit for some white to cover the drab early December landscape are keeping a close eye on a likely storm for this weekend, but much depends on the track and timing.

Forecasters are eyeing the development and track of the storm organizing in the Deep South on Friday, which could hook up with a separate system from the Great Lakes.

“We are confident there is a storm coming, but there is a question as to how strong it will become, and that strength has significant impact on the amount and extent of rain and snow in the Northeast," said AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

If the southern storm moves up the East Coast and swallows up the northern system, as some computer models suggest, it would deliver a one-two punch of heavy rain on Saturday, followed by up to 4 inches of snow at night into Sunday, especially at higher elevations of the Berkshires, southern Vermont and eastern New York.

At the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., the forecast team is focusing on “a dynamic storm system” with the potential to bring “a cocktail of wintry precipitation and accumulating snow” to the region, with the greatest impact on New England.

Berkshire County is a target for “the bulk of the action in terms of precipitation and wind from this storm system,” the forecasters said.

Following a mix of rain and snow on Saturday, a changeover to all snow looks increasingly likely at night, continuing well into Sunday, but the NWS is holding off on any accumulation forecast for the time being.

At Greylock Snow Day, website proprietor Blair Dils of Mount Greylock Regional High advises that “we might need shovels come Sunday. It's a complicated mess – it’s always a hope and prayer when we need two systems to phase, as is the case with this storm – but we're starting to see some signs from the experts that a coastal storm could form and strengthen.”

“Be aware that we do not have much faith in a forecast of 3 to 5 inches for the Berkshires this weekend,” he cautioned, “but we wanted to get out in front of it and let you know the possibility exists. It wouldn't hurt to re-locate those shovels.”