Winter-weary Berkshirites braced themselves on Sunday for yet another significant snowfall — the fifth in the past 12 days.
Though the latest in a parade of storms was slow in arriving on Sunday, the National Weather Service continues to predict 10 to 14 inches over the county, said meteorologist Joe Villani in the Albany office. Most of it will come down from early morning to mid-evening on Monday, he added.
A winter storm warning first issued by the government forecasters on Saturday continues in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The current storm, which was steadily advancing into New England from New York state late Sunday, shapes up as “one of the longer-duration events than we typically see in the winter,” Villani pointed out.
Both the morning and the evening commutes on Monday will be impacted by hazardous road conditions, he emphasized. The storm results from the leading edge of colder air stalled just south of the region, triggering a series of weak to moderate low-pressure systems.
Once again, the Boston area, with three feet of snow piled up in the past two weeks, is preparing for another major snowfall, with 12 to 14 inches on the way. Schools in the city were shut down for both Monday and Tuesday.
As of Sunday afternoon, AccuWeather.com was predicting 16 inches for Pittsfield, 18 inches for North County, and just under a foot for South Berkshire.
So far this winter, 55.5 inches of snow have been measured by the National Weather Service observation station at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, not including Sunday’s total. At Harriman and West Airport in North Adams, 43.6 inches have fallen.
Though no records have been set, the season has a long way to go. Normal October to May snowfall is 78 inches in Pittsfield, slightly less in North Adams, according to long-term averages.
Brutal, unrelenting cold has been even more frustrating for many residents.
So far this month, readings have been a stunning 8 degrees below normal, following January’s average of 3 below normal. Through Feb. 7, daily highs and lows were sharply lower than the 77-year average at Pittsfield Airport for 13 days, and the typical January thaw was nowhere to be seen.
On Feb. 6, the early-morning minus 9 set a new record low for the date. Daily readings have been taken at the Pittsfield Airport since 1938.
Anyone looking for relief from the deep freeze won’t find any comfort in the longer-range outlook.
“A blast of Arctic air will deliver the coldest weather so far this winter to the Northeast,” AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Lada stated.
The polar onslaught is due at the end of the week, with overnight lows in the Berkshires ranging from minus 10 early Saturday to minus 6 on Sunday. Daytime highs will struggle to reach 10 above.
Contributing to the misery will be strong winds, said Villani at the NWS. “The wind chill factor will be extremely low and dangerous, adding another layer of hazard with 20 to even 30 below zero from Friday through Sunday,” he predicted.
“What makes this stretch of Arctic air different than previous cold spells this winter is the duration,” according to meteorologist Becky Elliott of AccuWeather.
No daily highs above freezing are foreseen until Feb. 21.
Winter Storm Warning . . .
The National Weather Service’s warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Hazards: Persistent accumulating snow.
Accumulations: 10-14 inches in the Berkshires, 9 to 18 inches elsewhere in the region,through Monday night.
Maximum snowfall rates: One-half to one inch per hour through Monday morning.
Timing: Steady snowfall, moderate in intensity at times, tapering off late Monday evening into Monday night before ending.
Inpacts: Hazardous travel conditions due to snow- covered roadways and reduced visibilities for a prolonged period of time.
Source: National Weather Service, Albany, N.Y., as of 4 p.m. Sunday.