Explaining the big temperature, snowfall differences in western Massachusetts

Elevation plays a big role in the weather we experience

OTIS, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts is known for its hilly areas, which make the weather very different from town to town. For example, the Berkshires usually see more snow than the Pioneer Valley, even though the two areas are adjacent.

22News Storm Team Meteorologist Jennifer Pagliei traveled to Otis Wednesday, where nearly every person we talked to mentioned how they almost always experience a 10 degree difference from the Pioneer Valley.

The Berkshires are higher in elevation than the Valley, and the higher up in elevation you go, the colder it becomes. As rain falls and hits the cold air, the result is snow- making higher-elevation areas more likely to see snowfall.

22News spoke with Ray, a Connecticut resident whose daughter lives in Otis. He said that she experiences a degree difference daily.

“I heard them talking before about the difference in temperature and I noticed the same thing in Torrington (Connecticut). In Otis, that’s about 26 miles away, and there’s a ten to twelve degree difference all the time,” Ray said.

With lots of mountains in the Berkshires, a weather phenomenon known as “oceanographic lifting” occurs. Air rises, expands due to lower pressure, and as air cools, it condenses into precipitation. The cloud climbs up the mountain and the mountain acts as a sponge squeezing the moisture out of the cloud. If temperatures are cold enough, there will be snow.

Find out where you may see some accumulating snow Thursday with our 22News Snowfall Forecast.