Mother Nature will toss a winter blanket (of snow) across Berkshires

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Winter weather is back with a vengeance after a January thaw that lasted for half the month.

The first snowstorm of 2020 is expected to bring out the plows and shovels this weekend in the Berkshires and southern Vermont.

The intensifying storm that hit the Pacific Northwest this week was deepening over the central Plains late Friday, on a track bound for upstate New York and New England by Sunday.

"This storm will produce a widespread footprint of heavy snow into central and northern New England," said Robert Oravec, senior forecaster at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center outside Washington. "It has the potential to cause widespread hazardous conditions across much of the Northeast into Sunday."

Berkshire County is under a winter storm warning from 1 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday, with 5 to 9 inches of snow predicted, according to the government's forecast office in Albany, N.Y.

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Travel conditions will deteriorate at the height of the fast-moving storm Saturday afternoon and evening, with snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour possible, along with areas of blowing and drifting snow.

The higher snow totals are likely in North Berkshire and in the hilltowns, with lower amounts in Great Barrington and surrounding South County communities.

On the heels of a cold snap that kept highs in the mid-teens Friday with a predicted low around zero for Saturday morning, the storm will yield the first significant snowfall since mid-December. For the month so far, only 2 inches have been measured at Pittsfield Municipal Airport.

Temperatures over the next five days will be below normal, a sharp break from the prolonged mild spell that included record highs of 62 and 64 for the date on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12.

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


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