There is a late-winter storm bearing down on the Berkshires, but its impact will depend entirely on geography and altitude.
A winter storm warning for heavy snow went into effect last night for north Berkshire hilltowns over 1,500 feet. They include Becket, Windsor, Peru, Savoy and Florida.
Between 6 and 12 inches of snow are predicted for those communities, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y. The warning was scheduled to take effect at 11 p.m. Tuesday, and will remain in effect through 6 a.m. on Thursday.
In places like Pittsfield, North Adams and Lenox, only 2 to 6 inches of snow are predicted to fall because the precipitation is expected to change to rain this afternoon before turning back to snow after dark. Strong easterly winds, ranging from 15 to 30 miles per hour, with occasional gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, are likely.
In areas where mostly snowfall is expected, the heavy, wet blanket could cause scattered power outages, the government forecasters stated.
In South Berkshire, only a winter weather advisory is in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday. Moderate snowfall, from 3 to 8 inches, is expected. A transition to rain is likely Wednesday afternoon before another bout of snow occurs at night.
The sloppy weather is being produced by a storm that caused a blizzard in the Midwest on Monday and Tuesday, but is weakening today as it advances into western New York. The outlook is complicated by a second coastal storm that is expected to move along the Northeast coast today.
According to NWS meteorologist Joe Villani's Tuesday evening outlook, milder air working into the region today will cause the snow to mix with and then change to a daylong soaking rain, especially in lower elevations. But in the higher terrain, a complex mix of snow, sleet and possibly freezing rain is on tap.
The result is a complicated snowfall forecast with totals on the ground varying greatly, depending on elevation and the timing of the switchover to rain.
Winter-weary denizens of the Berkshires don't have much to look forward to during the first half of March, according to Accuweather's long-range outlook. It calls for a raw but dry weekend coming up, followed by a parade of weak to moderate foul-weather systems that will keep the region raw, windy, gray and gloomy.
To contact Clarence Fanto:
or (413) 637-2551.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto