Update: Snow totals are in for Berkshire County, up to 28 inches in the hilltowns
PITTSFIELD — Winter weather arrived with force on Monday, grounding airplanes, sending cars into snow banks and emptying department store racks of their hats and gloves.
And as residents dug their way out Monday morning, they braced for more white stuff on the way.
Snowfall totals ranged from about 8 1/2 inches in Pittsfield to over 16 inches in Clarksburg, according to Ray O'Keefe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.
"We still got more snow to go through this afternoon and into tonight, so numbers are going to go up," he said, noting another 5 to 10 inches of accumulation is possible.
A winter storm warning remained in effect through 7 a.m. Tuesday, he said.
Schools were closed across the county, allowing highway crews to clear the snow.
No serious accidents were reported, but reports came in of cars sliding off the road and into snow banks and trees. As snow accumulated on roadways, state officials reduced the speed limit along the Massachusetts Turnpike to 40 mph.
Snowfall accumulations ranged higher in the Albany area, O’Keefe said. Albany International Airport reported more than 14 inches as of 9 a.m., as well as impacts to nearly two dozen flights.
“For once, we’re getting more snow than you,” O’Keefe said. “It doesn’t usually happen.”
Bradley International Airport also reported minor impacts to its operations.
In Pittsfield, trash pickup was canceled for the day, prompting a one-day delay in service for the rest of the week.
Pittsfield officials said Monday afternoon that their snow removal strategy included bracing for another wave of white stuff into the evening.
“The city is plowing on all streets, but the main focus is on maintaining safe travel on main roads,” they said in a news release. “Once the storm is over, the removal of snow banks and other areas of accumulation will occur.”
The city’s statement said major routes were pre-treated, plowing remains ongoing and roadway clearing will continue until about eight hours after the storm dissipates.
Homeless people in Pittsfield had all found places to stay as of Monday morning, according to Jack Quinn, superintendent of the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction, who regularly makes early morning rounds to provide services for the city’s homeless.
Jay Sacchetti, vice president of shelter and housing for ServiceNet, which runs Barton’s Crossing homeless shelter in Pittsfield, said the facility took in 11 people overnight on Sunday.
Soldier On, a home for veterans, had 15 people sheltered there Sunday night, Quinn said.
Many people who are homeless during the winter find shelter with friends and family during the holiday season, Sacchetti said, which means the shelter population trends down during through the end of each year.
“And then the holidays end and that generosity ends,” he said. “And then we start to see people.”
Pittsfield Police Lt. Gary Traversa said Monday afternoon that the department spent much of the day responding to car crashes, resolving conflicts between neighbors about snow removal and towing vehicles.
In North Adams, Main Street was pretty quiet early Monday — except for the rumbling of snow blowers and the scraping of shovels against the pavement. Parked cars yet to be cleared resembled marshmallows in driveways and parking lots.
Steve Gavazzi, Matt Sherman and other associates of A1 Inc. in North Adams began their snow removal gigs Sunday, and were back at it at 4 a.m.
"It's hard to figure out where to put it all," Gavazzi said. "And I hear we have another foot coming."
"But," he said, "if it's going to come down, you might as well make money.”
Over at the North Adams Police Department, a shovel and snow brush leaned against the wall near the building's entrance, clumps of snow thawing off their respective handles. A bucket of salt waited for its next use.
Inside, Chief Jason Wood popped in to check on things after the holiday and getting over a bout of bronchitis."Shoveling out at 6:15 this morning didn't do me any favors," he said.
He said Sunday night's patrolmen responded to reports of cars sliding off roads and "a few minor accidents," but the overnight shift otherwise went without any major weather-related incidents.
Before he went on with his day, he stopped at a fax machine and picked up a memo from MEMA, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Along with the typical storm readiness checklist, the memo cautioned of several more inches of snow in the next wave.
"This should be fun," he quipped.
In Williamstown, a troop of six young family members, ranging from ages 3 to 14, relished the extended Thanksgiving holiday break, spending the afternoon playing in the snow on the Taconic Golf Club, a popular spot for winter recreation for people and pups of all ages.
Nate Brody, 11, launched a snowball at his group of family and friends. "A direct hit," he said with a mischievous grin.
Asked about the sledding conditions, Annie Brody, 8, said, "It's great," before hurling herself belly down and face forward onto a downhill course, squealing with glee.
In South County, some are enjoying the storm drama — thanks in part to the Great Barrington's Department of Public Works crew members who sacrificed their sleep to ensure the roads were clear.
"We don't have replacement guys," said Highway Superintendent Pete Soules, noting that with another storm coming, he had to send his 14 workers home at 10 p.m. Sunday to get some rest, after starting at 4 p.m, so they could be back out at 2 a.m.
"That's not much sleep, but every bit helps," he said.
It will be trickiest for the one DPW worker that takes care of the town's sidewalks — he hasn't finished clearing all the snow from the first round and will have double to deal with on Tuesday.
"Ten miles of sidewalks and just one guy," Soules said.
But that one guy got to Railroad Street in Great Barrington.
"It's just beautiful," said Tim Lovett, shoveling the sidewalk outside his real estate office, Berkshire Property Agents. "As much as I was dreading the snow, we're so lucky."
Ines Chang, 14, had just arrived in town from Taiwan with her father to visit the Berkshire School in Sheffield. She sent a photo of the snow to a friend, who said she had seen snow once before — in Japan.
Around the corner at Fuel Bistro and Coffee Shop on Main Street, Will Curletti opened at 7 a.m.
"It was dead," he said.
But snowstorms don't faze him — Fuel is known for its reliability in all kinds of weather, when everything else is closed.
"Look," Curletti said. "We chose to live in Berkshire County. I have four-wheel drive."
But drive north to Cumberland Farms, and there's no closing shop — ever: It's open 24-hours, no matter what.
And if you're a senior and need help getting the snow off your car, or with pumping gas, the clerks will do that — for free.
"We always help them," said Jasmine Twing.
At 6 a.m. people came — turns out shotgun season also started today.
"We had all the hunters," said store manager Laurie Burdick. "They will come early — it doesn't matter."
But for Burdick, the back-to-back storms presented a problem, since she lives on a back road an hour away in North Adams. She stayed at a hotel after her shift Sunday, at $100 per night. She'll do it again on Monday, and doesn't think she'll be compensated.
"It's my choice, but to me it's worth it," she said. "If I go off the road on my way home, I'm stuck where there's only woods."
She said she has all-wheel drive and studded tires, but worries about being hit by other drivers.
Others had lesser worries — subpar snowballs or sled runs. That was the midday fate of Fionn DeVoti Roland, 7, Eason Zhang, 13, and Eaxin Zhang, 7, at Park Street Park. And that's because school is out.
"We don't have to go to school and stay into the night time," Eaxin Zhang said. "And we don't have math. I'm really tired of brain thinking."
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