Cleanup efforts are being hampered across the county by downed trees, limbs and utility wires. Thousand of customers were still without power on Tuesday afternoon. The storm took down this large tree in Dalton.
Utility workers restoring power in the Beaver in North Adams.
Downed tree limbs in Clarksburg.
Many of the larger byways and highways were clear.
We've restored power to 40K+ customers in Massachusetts since the storm’s arrival Mon night. Restoration work is continuing as conditions are deemed safe. Strong winds & challenging travel conditions may delay restoration efforts & the use of bucket trucks to complete repairs. pic.twitter.com/xDsiXMTCSE
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshires got pounded overnight Monday as a foot or more of snow fell across the region, cancelling schools and leaving thousands without power.
Residents woke up Tuesday to a heavy blanket of white as public works crews struggled to keep up with the snowfall.
The downtowns in both cities were empty and municipal buildings in North Adams and Pittsfield were closed for the day and City Council meetings for Tuesday called off. Many local businesses and banks also closed, including MountainOne and Greylock Federal Credit Union, and both Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Pittsfield has received between 8 to 14 inches, Commissioner of Public Services and Utilities Ricardo Morales reported, and was expected to get another 6 more inches before the storm passed.
"Thank you, Pittsfielders, for doing your part and staying off the roads," he said in a press release. "Our crews are hard at work clearing the streets for safe passage."
The city issued a travel advisory and the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority suspended its services. A number of businesses also closed because of the hazardous conditions.
There are reports of snowfall accumulation of up to 30 inches in Rowe, 24 in Savoy and 25 in Readsboro, Vt. In South Berkshire, there was nearly 19 inches in Becket and a foot in Lenox.
The National Weather Service's winter storm warning runs through 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Another 5 to 10 inches of snow could accumulate overnight accompanied by strong, gusty winds and overnight lows in the 20s.
Much of Williamstown lost power for a couple of hours on Tuesday morning, but the outages were reduced to isolated pockets by midday, Town Manager Robert Menicocci reported.
He said the town's Department of Public Works was well prepared given the advance warning for the Nor'easter, and the DPW had plenty of capacity to handle the storm despite the recent retirement of director Chris Lemoine.
"Friday was his last day, and we got together briefly to wish him well and said, 'Of course, there's a storm coming,'" Menicocci said.
"We've been keeping up with hiring and all that, so we're not short-handed in any respect. As it always is in a small town with a storm like this, it's all hands on deck. … When something like this happens, they shine, and they like to jump in and get the job done."
Menicocci announced during Monday evening's Select Board meeting that he had decided to close Town Hall on Tuesday in preparation for the storm, but it is not a "snow day" for employees like himself.
"Through the pandemic, we all got more adept at telework," he said. "Shutting down doesn't mean 'shutting down' like it used to in the past. We just try to keep the building closed for the foot traffic to keep people off the roads."
Heavy wet snow bent trees almost in half and took down limbs and powers lines across the region.
Nearly 60,000 electric customers were out of power for most of Tuesday morning and downtown North Adams was without power — and street lights — until nearly noon.
By mid-afternoon, National Grid had made some headway but still some 625 active outages had more than 30,000 customers without power and, in some cases, without heat. Major outages continued in the higher elevations to the east of the Berkshires, along Route 7 from Williamstown to Hancock and in Cheshire.
There were scattered outages throughout South Berkshires, particularly around Monterey and Sheffield.
"Our DPW crew has worked long hours under adverse conditions to keep our roads passable for emergency vehicles. By noon today, thanks to their efforts, majority of roads were down to pavement with slushy conditions," said Adams Town Administrator Jay Green. "Multiple downed trees hampered snow removal efforts and the Adams Forest Wardens assisted with tree removal.
"Our Police Department staffing was bolstered by officers who volunteered to work additional hours, responding to medical calls and downed power lines. Expected heavy winds tonight may result in additional power outages; Adams is participating with other communities in a regional emergency operations team that is monitoring weather and assessing response needs. National Grid crews have been working in town to restore power as soon as possible."
Eversource still had nearly 19,000 customers across Western Mass without power, including about half its Lanesborough customers. An estimated 2,000 Pittsfield customers were without power due to downed trees. Eversource customers can report outages online at Eversource.com or call 877-659-6326.
Utility trucks had been lined up in the parking lot of Hotel Downstreet in North Adams in preparation for the storm. National Grid said more than 3,000 field personnel were responding to reports of downed wires, tree and poles. It reported restoring power to more than 23,000 customers by early Tuesday afternoon; some 36,000 had been without power around 10 a.m.
"Losing your power at any time is frustrating, and we're working hard to restore service as
quickly and safely as possible," said Tanya Moniz-Witten, vice president of New England
electric operations for National Grid, in a statement. "Our crews are deployed across the state and will continue to work to repair and restore the power systems until every customer has their electricity back."
The state Department of Transportation reported numerous trees and poles blocking roadways including a pole down at Route 2 near West Shaft Road in North Adams, a tree down in New Ashford on Route 7 and a tree down on Route 20 in Pittsfield. All three incidents closed those highways for several hours.
On noon on Tuesday, MassDOT had deployed more than 1,400 pieces of equipment. Speed limits on the MassPike were reduced to 40 mph.
Pittsfield's Morales said there are many downed trees on the roads and that the city's Department of Public Works is responding with assistance where possible. To report downed trees, call the Highway Department at 413-499-9314.
"Please be sure to stay clear of downed wires and report any sightings to 911," he said.
For carbon monoxide safety, the commissioner urged residents to keep heating vents clear of snow on the side of their residences and not to run a generator in a home or garage.
After this March like a lion storm passes, Thursday is expected to dawn bright and partly sunny with temperatures in the 40s. And this weekend, to add to all that snow, it's going rain.
pittsfield.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.