As the sun rose over a deep-frosted Berkshire landscape, temperatures courtesy of the Siberian Express ended their all-night free fall with record lows for the date early Tuesday morning.
The 7 a.m. reading of 9 below at the National Weather Service’s Pittsfield Municipal Airport automated observation station shattered the old record of 2 below set in 1948. It was the second one-day record set this month. The coldest morning, 14 below last Saturday, tied the previous record for Feb. 21 set in 1966.
In North Adams, the 6 a.m. reading of 12 below at Harriman & West Airport was among the coldest in the county — only Adams and South Williamstown (14 below) and Egremont (16 below) were frostier.
The trophy for coldest in the immediate tri-state area went to Stamford, Vt., just north of Clarksburg, where a weather observer reported 18 below shortly before dawn.
Across Massachusetts, Chicopee Falls held the dubious low-temperature honor, also 18 below.
With temperatures predicted to remain well below normal for the remaining four days of the month, February is still on track to tie or break the previous coldest month on record — February 1943. Pitsfield Airport historical records go as far back as 1938.
The only bright spots weary residents could point to were calm winds at daybreak and a five-day forecast that indicated no significant snowfalls in sight and daytime highs well up in the 30s this Sunday.
However, a storm system late Sunday and Monday will have to be closely watched in case it makes a closer approach to the region than currently indicated by most computer models.
Looking ahead, the government’s Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md., is offering a bleak outlook for the first 10 days of March, with below normal temperatures continuing for western New England, along with an active storm track that could yield more snowfall.
Normal for Pittsfield in late February ranges from 18 to 37, improving to lows of 20 and highs of 40 by March 8, when Daylight Saving Time returns.
As a result, according to AccuWeather.com’s senior meteorologist Brett Anderson, “temperatures in the Northeast will still average below normal, but they will be much less extreme.” In Berkshire County, the likely outcome will be overnight lows in the teens and daytime highs in the 30s.
Bring out the beach chairs!
How Cold Did It Get?
Here are the early-morning lows in the Berkshire County region as reported to the National Weather Service:
Stamford, Vt. -18
South Williamstown -14
North Adams (Airport) -12
Great Barrington -12
Pittsfield (Airport) -10
Source: National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.; only the airport readings are considered official, since the others are crowd-sourced.