Snow, ice likely to make for messy commute
Another overnight snowfall, with some ice mixed in, is expected to make Thursday morning travel a slip-sliding challenge.
Two-hour delays for some, if not all, school districts in the county are a fair bet, according to Greylock Snow Day, the go-to website for eager schoolchildren and anxious parents.
Snowfall totals should range from 1 to 2 inches in South Berkshire, and 2 to 5 inches from Pittsfield to the Vermont border, by early afternoon.
A winter weather advisory beginning late Wednesday night is set to expire at 10 a.m. Thursday in South Berkshire, and 1 p.m. from Pittsfield to North Adams and Williamstown, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.
For a brief time Thursday morning, snow could fall at a rate of one-half to one inch per hour, forecasters stated. A transition to sleet and freezing rain is possible south of the Massachusetts Turnpike as temperatures hover at or just above 32 degrees, followed by a changeover to rain by lunchtime.
A two-day shot of polar air starting Friday morning might give us the coldest overnight temperatures of the unusually mild season. Before dawn Saturday, thermometers should approach zero. The coldest day of the winter was 3 degrees Dec. 19 at Pittsfield Municipal Airport.
By Sunday, we should be back up to around 40 for a daytime high, with the next possibility of snow Monday night into Tuesday.
For the rest of the month, back-and-forth mild and cold conditions are likely, according to long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok at AccuWeather.com, with another arctic surge predicted around Feb. 20.
Computer models have had a tough time picking up on storm timing, track and the magnitude of cold this winter season, he acknowledged in an online post.
Any cold snaps are likely to be brief, Pastelok added, as the polar vortex is forecast to generally remain strong but remain near its home position hovering above the Arctic Circle.
Clarence Fanto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.
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