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man crosses traffic bracing against cold and wind

Pedestrians bundle up against the cold and biting wind during Friday’s frigid temperatures.

PITTSFIELD — A mass of cold air that descended over the Berkshires Friday and Saturday set record-breaking lows for the region.

Saturday’s low came at 6 a.m. when temperatures hit 17 degrees below zero according to data from the Pittsfield Municipal Airport. Those temperatures crushed Pittsfield’s previous record for cold temps for Feb. 4 which was set in 1965 when the low hit minus 10 degrees.

Meteorologist Dan Thompson with the National Weather Service in Albany said that a mass of cold air out of Canada and strong winds were to blame for the brutally cold weekend.

“It’s definitely not pleasant,” Thompson said Saturday afternoon. “The worst conditions have passed now.”

The arctic air was intensified by howling winds which peaked overnight Friday. Wind speeds were clocked at 61 mph Friday night at the Pittsfield airport and 56 mph Friday afternoon at the North Adams Harriman and West Airport.

Weather officials spent much of the last two days warning people about the danger associated with venturing out in these kinds of temperatures. The NWS advised that hypothermia and frostbite were very real risks during the cold snap and that frostbite could occur in as little as five to 10 minutes.

The intense winds cause scattered power outages throughout the region with several reports of downed Eversource and National Grid power lines coming in over the course of Friday night. Most of those outages had been resolved by Saturday morning.

Meg Britton-Mehlisch can be reached at mbritton@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6149.

Pittsfield Reporter

Meg Britton-Mehlisch is the Pittsfield reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, she previously worked at the Prior Lake American and its sister publications under the Southwest News Media umbrella in Savage, Minnesota.

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