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Snowstorm Blows Through Berkshires

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
11:01AM / Saturday, February 09, 2013
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The snowfall was slightly less than predicted but the hilltowns still saw close to 2 feet of snow. Pittsfield recorded 10 inches; Stamford, Vt., above had close to 9.

Towns and cities were cleaning up Saturday after a Nor'easter dumped a foot or more of snow across the Berkshires.

The storm arrived in Western Massachusetts later than originally predicted but still caused schools to close early Friday. A statewide ban on traffic ordered by the governor at 4 prompted many businesses to close early or reduce staff. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts closed at noon on Friday; Berkshire Community College is closed Saturday but will reopen on Sunday.

According to the National Weather Service, recorded snowfall was highest in Otis and Alford, at 22 and 20 inches respectively. North County towns saw 8 to 12 inches.

Roads were slick and the NWS reported heavy snow, high winds and limited visibility along the Mass-N.Y. border later in the evening. The ulitiies reported no power outages late Friday.

Wind gusts and drifting may continue through the day and cause sudden, limited visibility.

Most towns have snow emergencies in effect until later today or tomorrow morning to facilitate cleanup.

"City crews have worked very hard all night to open up streets for travel," wrote Mayor Richard Alcombright."Residents are advised to limit their driving today to essential travel if possible and use caution as city crews continue the cleanup from last night’s storm."

The public library and transfer station are closed in North Adams, and the skating rink will open at 4.

State police in Western Mass. reported heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions but no significant incidents.

The eastern end of the state bore the brunt of the storm, recording 3 feet of snow on the Cape, whiteout conditions and numerous trees down and roads closed. Cars were reported traveling the wrong way on Routes 128 and 93 because motorists couldn't see the ramp signs. Some 400,000 customers were without electricity; hospitals in Sandwich and Wareham were on generator power. The state police communications towers also had generator issues.

The town of Hull issued a mandatory evacuation order for coastal areas at 8 a.m. and several other communities issued voluntary ones.

MEMA reported that Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station had an unusual incident at 10:35 p.m. on Friday when it lost power. The station is on generator power and has shut down.
 

Cancellations can be found here.


 

Happy or sad over the travel ban? You decide.

Gov. Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency and has banned all nonessential traffic after 4 p.m. on Friday. 

"Snow is falling over most of the commonealth, the heavist is expect to start about 2 o'clock continuing through tomorrow," said Patrick, speaking from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in Framingham. "Forecasts are for as much as 3 feet of snow in some parts of the commonwealth."

Snowfall this afternoon could reach 2 to 3 inches an hour, which the governor said "will make safe travel nearly impossible" during the normal rush hour.

Officials believed this was the first time a governor had signed an executive order banning vehicle traffic since the aftermath of the Blizzard of 1978. 

Penalties for violating the ban include fines and up to $500 in fines, but the governor said the exemptions for allowed vehicles was flexible and understanding of people's needs. Among the exemptions are all state and municipal vehicles, emergency responders, utility workers, health-care workers, vehicles delivering heating and other supplies, and others.

"The point is not to come down hard on people ... but to get all nonessential travel to cease," said Patrick. "The point is we have to have as many people off the road as possible if they don't have."

"The point is not to figure how to come down hard on people," said Patrick.  "It's to emphasize how critical it is that nonsense travel on the road cease during the storm and in the immediate aftermath."

North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright closed City Hall at 3 p.m. and urged residents to be off the road as soon as possible. He said in a statement that "police will be monitoring traffic but certainly understand that there will be people coming home from work or other activities."

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority will run its last train from Boston at 3:30 p.m.; toll collection on highways will stop at 2 p.m. to allow toll collectors to go home.

A thousand National Guardsman are on duty, which will ramp up to 5,000 over the weekend. The state expected to have 4,000 pieces of equipment clearing snow ("anything with a plow") and utilities had already positioned some 2,000 crews since Friday morning.

The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority will continue its regular schedule for Friday. Most towns and cities have declared snow emergencies and a number of venues are closing early today and will be closed tomorrow. Local groceries were crowded with residents picking up supplies.

Most schools had half days or were closed on Friday; afterschool programs have been canceled, including sports.

Meteorologists are predicting from 12 to 18 inches over the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. Boston, which has had below-normal snowfall this year and last, could get 2 to 3 feet to make up the deficit

The storm, dubbed Nemo by The Weather Channel, sounds cuddly, but could be anything but for the Berkshires. The forecast, however, should be boon for ski areas but, alas, too late for the already postponed Thunderbolt Ski Race.

A winter storm watch is in effect from Friday morning through late Friday night. Heavy snow with accumulations of 9 inches or more are expected overnight Friday, with snowfall exceeding an inch per minute hour. (Whoops, can you imagine an inch of snow a minute?!)

National Grid writes on its Facebook page:

The safety of our Massachusetts customers, the public and our employees is our primary concern. We are taking action now to respond quickly and safely if outages occur, and you can too. In preparation for the approaching winter storm, please keep our emergency outage reporting number nearby: 1-800-465-1212, and visit our Stay Connected page for additional ways to keep informed during the storm.

Here's what the always audacious Mount Greylock Snow Day has to say about the storm (something about firing editors and Wonder Twins.)

We will be rewriting and updating this page as conditions warrant. Send cancellations and postponements to info@iberkshires.com or post on our Facebook page.

 

 

Cancellations

The Norman Rockwell Museum is closed Saturday because of the driving ban;  opening event for the 27th annual Berkshire County High Show has been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m.

BerkshireRides vans will not be in service Friday or Saturday. If it is safe, van service will resume Sunday at 4 a.m.

MCLA will close from noon through Saturday.

BCC will be closed Friday and Saturday; the Not Your Average Dog Show is scheduled for Sunday.

The Adams Free Library, Visitors Center and Recycling Center will all be closed Saturday.

Reception on Friday night for U.S. Rep. Edward Markey at Itam Lodge.

Pittsfield Democratic Caucuses in Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9, at 2 have been postponed to March 2.

Berkshire Museum will close at 1 p.m. and tonight's Little Cinema is closed.

The Hoosac-Wahconah boys basketball game on Friday.

Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's monthly forum on Friday morning .

The Friday evening show at the Milham Planetarium at Williams College.

Community Access to the Arts closed.

Clark Art's Preservation Hall Jazz Band concert on Friday night canceled. Ticketholders will receive a full refund and notice of the rescheduled date. Also, Saturday's Start With Art free preschool event is canceled.

Sheffield Historical Society's "Murders, Accidents and Sudden Deaths" on Friday night. The talk has been postponed to the following Friday, Feb. 15.

The Pediatric Flu Vaccine Clinic scheduled for Saturday at Berkshire Medical Center has been postponed to Saturday, Feb. 16, from 10:30 to 2.

Friday's screening of "Valley of Saints" at Images Cinema.

Amherst History Museum: Jason A. Freeman's lunchtime lecture on Friday and the Founders Day Celebration on Saturday.

United Celebral Palsy of Berkshire County will close its North Adams and Pittsfield offices at noon.

The Jimmy Cozzaglio Classic League at Greylock Bowl and Golf in North Adams is canceled.

Big Y in Pittsfield will be closing at 5 p.m.

Dotties Cafe in Pittsfield is closing at 3 p.m.

Bousquet Ski Resort closes at 4 p.m. and Jiminy Peak at 7 p.m.

Berkshire Bank is closing at 3 p.m.

Rite Aid is closing at 3 p.m.

The Norman Rockwell Museum closed at 3 p.m.

Beacon, Triplex and Images cinemas and the North Adams Movieplex are closed Friday night.

 

Snow Emergencies:
During a snow emergency, parking on roadsides is banned and vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense. Motorists are usually cautioned to limit travel.

Pittsfield has declared a snow emergency from 6 p.m. on Friday through 7 a.m. on Sunday.

The Town of Clarksburg has declared a snow emergency from 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, through 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9.

North Adams has declared a snow emergency from noon on Friday, Feb. 8, until 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Adams has declared a snow emergency from 3 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Saturday; the town is will also open its operations center and keep residents informed using the CodeRed system.

Dalton has declared a snow emergency from 6 p.m. on Friday to 7 a.m. on Sunday.

Lenox has declared a snow emergency from 4 p.m. on Friday through 2 p.m. on Saturday.


Tags: cancellations,   snow emergencies,   snowstorm,   state of emergency,   

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