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All That Snow Expected to Fall Southward

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NEVERMIND:  The National Weather Service has canceled its Winter Storm Warning and has a Winter Weather Advisory only in place for the Berkshires from 1 a.m. Monday to 7 p.m. Tuesday. 
 
Total snow expected: 2 to 4 inches. South County could get up to 6. 
 
This fast-moving storm is heading south and east and may miss us completely. 

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Parts of the Berkshires could get nearly a foot of snow early this week as a Nor'easter barrels through New England. 

The bulk of the storm system is now expected to pass below North Berkshire. NWS says there will be a sharp cutoff between low and high snowfall accumulations but uncertainty in how far north and west the axis of heaviest show will extend. 
 
The snow line cutoff looks to go through Pittsfield with North Berkshire getting anywhere from 2 to 6 inches.
 
The rest of the state might not be so lucky. Gov. Maura Healey has notified nonessential executive office employees to stay home and Boston and Springfield have already closed schools. 

"This is a #noreaster with #bombogenesis - expect the worst" tweeted NBC Boston's Pete Bouchard on Sunday morning.

The dire warnings of heavy snow for Northern Berkshires over the weekend shifted drastically south by Monday morning. 

The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., on Sunday evening added a Winter Storm Warning for Southern Berkshire beginning a 1 a.m. Monday through Tuesday.
 
A Winter Storm Watch was issued earlier on Sunday for North Berkshire remains in effect from late Monday night through Tuesday evening. This covers New York's Capital District, all of Southern Vermont as well. 
 
The forecast so far is for heavy wet snow overnight Monday that could seriously hamper the morning community. Snowfall rates could exceed one inch an hour overnight. It's possible the higher elevations could see more snow. 
 
Accuweather's "StormMax" is 17 inches in the higher elevations.
 
CBS WBZ-TV in Boston is warning of blizzard conditions, particularly during Tuesday morning and afternoon. The track of the storm as it moves north up the coast will determine how much snow and where it will impact most. WBZ-TV on Sunday said Boston has not had more than 4 inches of snow in 715 days. 
 
Greylock Snow Day's Confidence Meter is at 75 percent chance of a snow day for South County on Tuesday based on current timing of the storm and an estimated snowfall of 5 to 10 inches. Chances for a snow day in North County has been reduced to 15 percent and 50 percent in Central Berkshires.
 
iBerkshires will update this article as new information and cancellations are announced. Residents should assume snow emergencies will be declared by Monday are reminded not to park overnight on the streets to facilitate snowplowing. 
 
Pittsfield declared a snow emergency early Monday but cancelled it Tuesday morning. 

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If you would like to contribute information on this article, contact us at info@iberkshires.com.

How can women bridge the retirement gap?

Submitted by Edward Jones

March 8 is International Women's Day, a day for celebrating all the accomplishments of women around the globe. But many women still need to make up ground in one key area: retirement security.

Women's challenges in achieving a secure retirement are due to several factors, including these:

  • Pay gap – It's smaller than it once was, but a wage gap still exists between men and women. In fact, women earn, on average, about 82 cents for every dollar that men earn, according to the Census Bureau. And even though this gap narrows considerably at higher educational levels, it's still a source of concern. Women who earn less than men will likely contribute less to 401(k) plans and will ultimately see smaller Social Security checks.
  • Longer lives – At age 65, women live, on average, about 20 more years, compared to almost 17 for men, according to the Social Security Administration. Those extra years mean extra expenses. 
  • Caregiving responsibilities – Traditionally, women have done much of the caregiving for young children and older parents. And while this caregiving is done with love, it also comes with financial sacrifice. Consider this: The average employment-related costs for mothers providing unpaid care is nearly $300,000 over a lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Labor — which translates to a reduction of 15 percent of lifetime earnings. Furthermore, time away from the workforce results in fewer contributions to 401(k) and other employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Ultimately, these issues can leave women with a retirement security deficit. Here are some moves that can help close this gap:

  • Contribute as much as possible to retirement plans. Try to contribute as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. Your earnings can grow tax deferred and your contributions can lower your taxable income. (With a Roth 401(k), contributions aren't deductible, but earnings and withdrawals are tax free, provided you meet certain conditions.) At a minimum, contribute enough to earn your employer's matching contribution, if one is offered, and try to boost your contributions whenever your salary goes up. If you don't have access to a 401(k), but you have earned income, you can contribute to an IRA. Even if you don't have earned income, but you have a spouse who does, you might be eligible to contribute to a spousal IRA.
  • Maximize Social Security benefits. You can start taking Social Security at 62, but your monthly checks will be much bigger if you can afford to wait until your full retirement age, which will be around 66½. If you are married, you may want to coordinate your benefits with those of your spouse — in some cases, it makes sense for the spouse with the lower benefits to claim first, based on their earnings record, and apply for spousal benefits later, when the spouse with higher benefits begins to collect.
  • Build an emergency fund. Try to build an emergency fund containing up to six months' worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid account. Having this fund available will help protect you from having to dip into your retirement accounts for large, unexpected costs, such as a major home or car repair.

It's unfortunate, but women still must travel a more difficult road than men to reach retirement security. But making the right moves can help ease the journey.

 

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