Why did some parts of western Massachusetts get so much snow, others none at all?

Weather News

There was a remarkable difference between the weather in the Pioneer Valley compared to the weather in the Berkshires.

With some places in the Berkshires getting more than a foot of snow, and many of us in the Valley getting nothing, you may be curious about what made for such a big weather difference over such a short distance.

While most of the snow we had a couple of weeks ago has melted away in the Springfield area, it keeps piling up in the hilltowns. For the third day in a row, the snow continued to fall in the town of Worthington.

“If you’re going to live in Worthington you’re going to tolerate it and I live in Worthington and I’ve been tolerating it for about 40 years…. and yes we do get it and the people down in the valley don’t,” said Doug Small.

The snow has mainly been falling in areas where the elevation is above 1,000 feet. Some towns have picked up between 4 inches to as much as a foot of snow. Most people who live in those areas aren’t complaining.

“Oh I think it’s great, it’s not too heavy it’s not amounting to much but it keeps it looking pretty out here which is why we like it,” said Ruth Ewing of Worthington.

It’s a process known as ‘orographic lifting’ or ‘upsloping.’ Air hits hilly terrain and is forced to rise. As the air rises, it cools and condenses causing snow to fall. That snow continues to fall over the hills until the air gets to the other side of the hills where it then starts to sink. As the air sinks, it warms and dries out, forcing the snow to storm.

“Right now, it’s a little early because the ground’s not frozen but it’s beautiful to look at and we like to play in it,” said Tammy Messeck of Worthington.

You can get drastic differences from valleys to the hills when this process sets up as was the case the last couple of days. 

Most of the snow that fell Wednesday was on the light and really didn’t accumulate all that much.

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