Huffing and puffing, batten down ‘ye hatches!

A strong storm that created blizzard conditions in parts of the Midwest this week will make a run at the Northeast on Friday. Its track into western Quebec spares the Berkshires from snow but not from high winds and an inch or two of heavy rain.

The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., posted a high-wind warning for the northern half of Berkshire County, from Pittsfield to the Vermont border, and into the southern portion of the Green Mountains, said meteorologist Joe Villani.

The strongest southeasterly winds will have the greatest impact on North County, especially over North Adams, he added, because of the wind-tunnel effect created by the area’s valley. The warning calls for “strong and damaging winds” at 25 to 35 miles per hour, with gusts up to 60, which could bring down some trees and tree limbs, resulting in potential scattered to widespread power blackouts.

South Berkshire will face a slightly less-severe storm, so an advisory has been issued for the area calling for 20 to 30 mph winds and gusts up to 50. Scattered power failures could result from downed trees or limbs.

The strongest winds are expected from the pre-dawn hours on Friday until noon, Villani said.

Although the storm could start as a rain-snow mix, by daylight Friday rising temperatures will turn anything frozen into all rain, with highs into the low- to mid-40s by afternoon.

Then, the coldest outbreak of the season will kick in, and Villani did not rule out some snowshowers and possible light accumulations overnight Friday into Saturday.

The next major storm is due Wednesday and Thursday but, as the forecaster put it, the track is so uncertain that “everything’s on the table at this point” — rain, snow or an icy mix.

Air travelers on Friday and, to a lesser extent, Saturday will encounter turbulent skies, with likely airport delays, at Albany International, Bradley International north of Hartford, Conn., Logan in Boston and the New York metro area’s major airports.


– Clarence Fanto

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