Another possibly messy, fast-moving overnight mini-storm could create briefly hazardous driving conditions in the Berkshires and southern Vermont early Wednesday.
The National Weather Service’s winter weather advisory, in effect from 7 p.m. Tuesday until 1 p.m. Wednesday, called for up to 1 to 3 inches of snow, sleet and a bit of freezing rain in Berkshire County before rising temperatures cause a changeover to all rain. In Vermont’s Bennington and Windham counties, snow could total 2 to 6 inches before the switch to a wintry mix, especially at higher elevations.
The scenario involves a minor storm system from the Ohio Valley moving directly over western New England early tomorrow, with a “nose of warm air riding over the top of cold air,” said meteorologist John Quinlan at the government forecast office in Albany, N.Y.
Temperatures are expected to yo-yo from the mid-30s to the low 40s on Wednesday morning before dropping back sharply into the mid-20s by sunset. That could cause black ice on any remaining wet pavement, Quinlan pointed out.
The advisory, which Quinlan described as “low level” and precautionary, indicated that the expected mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain before dawn on Wednesday would move out before the drive home from work and school. Depending on the exact track of the storm, there could be a period of slippery travel conditions and poor visibility in the early morning.
However, forecasters are not all on the same page, as AccuWeather is predicting all rain and no snow for the Berkshires.
In addition to the sharp drop in temperatures Wednesday afternoon, winds could gust as high as 30 to 45 miles per hour.
Looking ahead, it should be mainly dry from Thursday through Sunday, with below normal temperatures rebounding to seasonal levels over the weekend. Average temperatures for early March range from the upper teens to the upper 30s.
So far, western New England remains poised to set records for the least winter season snowfall for a century as well as the mildest December through March since the late 1930s. At Pittsfield Municipal Airport, 12.6 inches have been measured, compared to an average of 60 inches by early March, based on 78 years of National Weather Service records.
Temperatures during the heating season have run 18 percent below average in the Berkshires, yielding significant savings for oil and natural gas customers already benefiting from much lower prices compared to last winter.
AccuWeather.com is predicting a surge of spring-like weather starting in a week, with temperatures that feel more like May than March, according to senior meteorologist Elliot Abrams.