A light coating of snow on the pumpkin, at least, just in time for Halloween. That’s the tricky forecast for Friday, as a pair-up of storms is expected to whiten the area with up to 2 inches, possibly several inches more at higher elevations.
The remnants of what is expected to become Hurricane Zeta, combining with a separate system originating over the Southwestern states, are expected to drench the Berkshires with an inch of rain starting Thursday afternoon, then mix with and change to snow well before dawn on Friday.
That’s the cautious forecast from the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., as forecasters scope out a new coastal storm developing off the mid-Atlantic coast late this week. Colder air from Quebec is likely to feed into the moisture from that storm, though ground temperatures well above freezing could cut into the potential for a plowable snowfall.
How much? At most, several inches in valleys, and 6 inches or more above 1,000 feet elevation in the Berkshires, including Pittsfield, Lenox and hill towns to the east and southeast. But more likely, an inch or two above 1,000 feet and little or none in lower-lying parts of the county.
Whatever the outcome may be, blustery, winter-like conditions are expected from Saturday into early next week, with possible snow showers Monday and Tuesday, according to the government forecasters. And the switch to Eastern Standard Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, so remember set your timepieces back one hour.
Snow in October, while far from typical, has whitened the Berkshire landscape prematurely twice in the past decade.
On Oct. 27, 2016, just short of 4 inches fell at Pittsfield Municipal Airport.
But on Halloween, Oct. 31, 2011, the heaviest storm on record for the month dumped 18 inches on Pittsfield, nearly two feet on several other towns, and a jackpot of 32 inches in Peru, the county’s highest elevation town at 2,064 feet, just ahead of Windsor at 2,031 feet above sea level.
The earliest October snowstorm since records began in 1939 hit the county on Oct. 4, 1987, also with 18 inches in Pittsfield and surrounding towns. Power was knocked out for a few days in the hardest-hit areas, and the Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade was canceled for the first time in its history.