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New Year Nor'easter: Gov. Closes State Government

Staff Reports
07:03PM / Thursday, January 02, 2014
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We're calling this 4 1/2 inches for Thursday morning; what do you think it will be Friday?
UPDATED: Jan. 3, 2014 at 9:15 a.m.
North County municipalities are calling it a week.
All city offices in North Adams will be closed Friday, including City Hall, the Spitzer Center and the library because of the storm, wind and bitter cold.
In addition, the Family Resource Center's Play and Learn Groups are also canceled.
In Adams, Town Hall, the Council on Aging and the Adams Free Library are all closed. The snow emergency will continue to noon.

Residents are urged to follow the governor's recommendation and stay off the roads.

UPDATED: Jan. 2, 2014 at 6:45 p.m.

Gov. Deval Patrick is closing state government on Friday and is asking private businesses to do the same.

Patrick held a press conference at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, providing tips for residents for the storm and reassuring them that emergency responders are prepared for the weather.

He is asking residents to stay at home but is not calling a state of emergency like he did last year when motorists were ordered to stay off the roads, an action unpopular in the Berkshires.

"I'm urging the general public to stay off the roads and indoors," he said.

But, he also said, "there are people who have to be out and I get that." For those who will take to the roads, he is asking them to drive slowly and cautiously.

The governor says while he is not declaring a state of emergency, the state is responding to the storm as if it is. Because the storm will affect different parts of the state differently, he says he is leaving it up to local officials to determine responses.

During a storm last year, the governor declared a state of emergency statewide and the Berkshires ended up with little snow but a lot of frustration. That isn't the case with this storm.

Patrick said the large amount of snow, extremely cold temperatures and "worrisome" high tides creates a dangerous situation. He asked businesses to follow the state government's lead in closing for Friday and expects most schools to be closed — although he is not ordering them to closed.

So far, North Adams, Pittsfield, Berkshire Hills and Adams-Cheshire school districts, and Clarksburg, Savoy, Florida and McCann schools have canceled classes for Friday. Berkshire Community College is also closed.

Greylock Federal Credit Union will delay opening its branches until 9 a.m. on Friday.

The region is expected to get between 6 to 12 inches of snow overnight Thursday, with up 15 inches in the Northern Berkshires and Southern Vermont. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through Friday morning at 10.

The snowfall will be accompanied by frigid weather — from 10 below to 10 above — and wind gusts up to 25 mph. The wind-chill effects can cause hypothermia and frostbite. People are cautioned to dress warmly, including hat and mittens, if they venture outside. Pets should also be brought inside if they do not have a warm, dry enclosure.

UPDATED: Jan. 2, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.

Gov. Deval Patrick is sending state employees home at 3 p.m. and is asking private companies to do the same.

During a noon press conference, Patrick warned of hazardous conditions throughout Thursday night including subzero temperatures, potential for coastal flooding and power outages.

"We have a serious and significant winter storm," Patrick said.

Patrick said he has been in contact with the National Weather Service and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and as much of two feet of snow could fall in parts of the state. The forecast calls for snow to drop throughout Thursday and into Friday with low temperatures.

Patrick is sending state workers home early Thursday but hasn't made a determination on Friday.

"I'm encouraging private employers to take similar measures," he said.

Because of the disparities between predictions across the state, Patrick is asking residents to pay attention to local officials for emergency responses. MEMA will be at full activation at about 7 p.m. Thursday.

Patrick was joined by Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan.

Davey said state roads have been pretreated and some 1,600 pieces of equipment are ready to be deployed to clean them. Sullivan said he has been in touch with all of the state's utility companies, who have filed response plans in preparation.

"We have been in constant contact with the utility companies," Sullivan said.

Patrick said the weather will created "very, very dangerous" circumstances and asked residents to "be a good neighbor" by checking on each the other. He also asked residents to be mindful of pets.

The governor said residents should have emergency supplies, enough heating fuel, to take safety precautions when using alternative heating systems, limit outdoor activity to avoid hypothermia and never to run an automobile until the exhaust is cleared of snow. Those with questions regarding the storm can call 2-1-1.

The Nor'easter bearing down on the region has already given some students an extra vacation day.

All public schools and Berkshire Community College are closed. All after-school sports and activities are canceled.

The practical nursing orientation scheduled at McCann Technical School has been rescheduled to Monday.

The Pittsfield Family YMCA's downtown program at 292 North St. will be open for YMCA school-age participants from the city's elementary schools and Richmond School from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information: 413-499-7650.

Southern Berkshire Regional School District and St. Joseph's High School don't come back from vacation until next Monday.

The Richmond Library closes at 3 p.m.

Snow emergencies: Vehicles must be removed from the streets to clear the way for plows, residents are required to clear the snow in front of their homes.

  • North Adams: begins at noon and all municipal buildings and the Spitzer Senior Center closes at 1 p.m.
  • Adams: begins at 6 p.m.; the library will close at 4 p.m. and there will be no senior van on Friday.
  • Lenox: began at 8 a.m.
  • Pittsfield: begins at 7 p.m. Thursday and runs through Saturday at 7 a.m. Residents with no off-street parking may use the McKay Street and Columbia Avenue parking garages.

Mayor Richard Alcombright is asking North Adams residents to be patient as the timing of the storm and the falling temperatures, make snow removal even more challenging as chemical treatment of roads becomes less effective.

The National Weather Service has posted a winter storm watch from 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are expected overnight but the storm is forecast to intensify Thursday evening with 6 to 8 inches of snow. The storm is also bringing in bitter temperatures, in the teens Wednesday night and single digits on Thursday.

The state Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit on I-90 to 45 mph because of the storm.






NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The new year is looking to start off cold and with what could be up to a foot of snow.

Schools are back in session on Thursday, but if the storm drops as much as expected, it could be a New Year snow day.

A snow storm is expected to roll into the county Wednesday night into Thursday carrying snow and cold temperatures. Flurries of snow should start falling at about 11 p.m. on Wednesday and pick up throughout the night. is forecasting 6 to 12 inches for our area, with possible snowfall of 2 to 4 inches an hour in some locations, on Thursday.

With temperatures in the teens throughout the day, snow is expected to drop until Friday morning. And as the week progresses, temperatures are also expected to fall into the single digits and possibly below zero. High winds are expected.

Weather experts are tracking what is now two storms that could combine become a major snow event. There could be some cancellations as the storms cover the entire Northeast, with Southern New England, including most of the Berkshires, bearing the brunt.

The National Weather Service has not issued any weather alerts for the county as of noon on Tuesday but cautioned that bitter cold moving into the region late in the week will likely prompt wind-chill advisories and warnings.

Tags: severe weather,   weather conditions,   



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