NORTH ADAMS -- Though schools dismissed classes early, municipalities declared snow emergencies and the governor declared a state-wide travel ban on motor vehicle use, snow accumulation held off for most of Friday in Northern Berkshire.
But early Friday evening, John Hockridge of New England Weather Associates said the storm would intensify and continue throughout the night, bringing heavy snow and strong winds. Hockridge said the Berkshires could see between 12 and 18 inches of snow, most of which was expected to fall overnight Friday into today. He added that making an exact estimate for this storm's snow accumulation was difficult.
"When a storm gets as big as this one, it will make spiral bands with one to three inches of snowfall an hour," he explained. Areas in those bands will get more than areas immediately surrounding them, he said, and in addition, there's no way to tell when or where those bands will form.
With gusts of wind up to 40 and 50 mph overnight, the effect of blowing and drifting snow was expected to make for poor visibility, Hockridge said. But the Berkshires shouldn't see much of the storm past this morning, he said.
"The storm will basically be over for us by late morning or early afternoon Saturday," he said.
In anticipation of snow accumulation of up to two feet and blizzard conditions, three Northern Berkshire municipalities declared a state of emergency: Adams from 3 p.m. Friday until 3 p.m. today; Clarksburg from 8 a.m. Friday until 8 p.m. today; and North Adams from 4 p.m. Friday until 8 p.m. today.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright urged residents to not park on city streets during these times so crews can clear snow from roads. Alcombright also urged residents to follow Gov. Deval Patrick's ban on motor vehicle travel.
The ban, which began at 4 p.m. Friday and continues until further notice, does not apply to public safety and public works employees, government officials conducting official business, utility workers, health care workers and news media. Travel is also allowed if necessary to maintain and deliver critical services such as energy, and to support business operations that provide critical services such as gas stations, food stores and hardware stores.
As of Friday evening, Northern Berkshire roads were near empty.
"Absolutely nothing," North Adams Police Dispatcher Laurie Cooper said when asked if there had been any incidents reported on city roads. "There's been nothing storm related yet."
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