The first severe weather alert of the spring season for the Berkshires was issued just after noon by the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.
Because of a strong cold front slicing into tropical air in the region, forecasters are warning of potentially severe thunderstorms later this afternoon with damaging winds and large hail. The greatest threat of severe weather is likely between 3 and 7 p.m.
The government forecasters' statement includes a possibility that so-called supercells may form. These especially intense thunderstorms can produce golf-ball sized hail and wind gusts exceeding 60 or even 70 miles an hour.
Any storms that develop will form first over central New York, move through the Capital District and then head into Berkshire County and points east.
As of early afternoon, radar showed no major severe-weather outbreaks had developed yet, but forecasters said supercells can develop quickly and they urged area residents to keep in touch with updates on the National Weather Service website, www.erh.noaa.gov/aly.