Jul 19, 2023
Nor’easter hits Berkshires, dumping more than 6 inches of snow with more coming and leaving nearly 13,000 households without power
With schools, some businesses and most government services closed countywide, Berkshire residents awakened on Tuesday to a heavy blanket of snow, and many without power. As predicted, a highly potent
With schools, some businesses and most government services closed countywide, Berkshire residents awakened on Tuesday to a heavy blanket of snow, and many without power.
As predicted, a highly potent coastal storm dumped more than 6 inches of snow overnight on the Berkshires, with plenty more to come. According to National Grid and Eversource outage maps, 12,991 households were without power as of 8 a.m. in Berkshire County. In Pittsfield, 2,572 homes were without power; North Adams 2,617; Becket 1,813.
Berkshire County residents woke up to more than 6 inches of snow with thousands without power Tuesday, March 14.
Police and other first responders were dealing with multiple reports of accidents and downed utility lines. Some motorists were not heeding urgent warnings from officials and forecasters to stay off the roads except for emergencies
After a burst of snow from 1 to 2 inches an hour between 4 and 7 a.m., forecasters warned that storm totals could reach 18 inches north of the MassPike before the snowfall starts winding down by late Tuesday afternoon. In South Berkshire, 8 to 12 inches of snow was expected.
As winds pick up on Tuesday with gusts up to 45 mph expected overnight into Wednesday, the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y. predicted that power disruptions were likely because of downed tree limbs and utility lines.
“Roads will be hazardous to impassible in places and visibilities will be greatly restricted,” said weather service meteorologist Abigayle Gant. “If you do not have to travel, please refrain from doing so. This is a very wet, heavy snow, shoveling will prove difficult, so take frequent breaks and drink lots of water to avoid dangerous health complications.”
Tuesday: Snow, near 35, tapering off by sunset, nighttime lows in the upper 20s. Storm total: 12 to 18 inches north of the MassPike, 8 to 12 inches in South Berkshire.
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, snow showers at times, very windy with gusts up to 40 mph, highs in the mid-30s. Clearing at night, low 20-25.
Thursday: Partly sunny, low 40s. Mostly cloudy at night, around 30.
Friday: Chance of rain or snow showers in the morning, rain showers in the afternoon, highs 40-45.
Saturday: Chance of rain or snow showers, near 40. Nighttime low 20-25.
Sunday: Partly sunny, low 30s.
Source: National Weather Service forecast for Berkshire County
In Pittsfield, plows made at least one pass on main roads and some side streets. With schools closed and likely some businesses, too, traffic was on the lighter-than-usual side for a Tuesday morning commute.
City Hall officials asked residents to stay home except for emergencies or other “essential travel.”
“We need to make sure the roads are clear, and with over an inch of snow an hour, it’s challenging to maintain clear roads which is needed for essential and emergency travel,” said Ricardo Morales, the public services and utilities commissioner, in a statement Monday night. “If you do not have to travel, we’re asking everyone to please stay off the roads so our crews can do what’s needed to keep our streets clear and passable.”
In addition to the city’s public schools, City Hall and municipal offices, the Berkshire Athenaeum and the senior center were closed. Pittsfield’s snow emergency regulations restricting on-street parking remains in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday. Curbside trash pickup was canceled for Tuesday but will resume on Wednesday with a one-day delay.
The city is providing weather updates at cityofpittsfield.org and on its Facebook page, City Hall-City of Pittsfield. There’s also a winter hotline at 413-449-5544.
Snow emergencies also remained in effect in North Adams, Clarksburg, Dalton, Lenox and most other towns, with on-street parking restricted so highway crews could begin clearing roads for emergency vehicles.
Emergency crews in Williamstown were flooded with calls for help on Tuesday morning. “We‘ve taken more than 50 calls at dispatch since 6:30,” Police Chief Michael Ziemba said. “We’re running extra patrols and dispatchers.”
Wires were down all over town, and a car ran into a pole at the Five Corners intersection. In another incident, a car struck a downed tree. No one was injured in either accident, Ziemba said.
Here are the key takeaways from government forecasters:
Eagle staff writers Sten Spinella and Meg Britton-Mehlisch contributed to this report.
Berkshire towns have declared a snow emergency in advance of the heavy snow expected Monday night into Wednesday morning.