Tuesday September 18, 2012

The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y. issued a tornado watch for Berkshire County Tuesday afternoon that expires at 11 p.m.

It is the only county in Massachusetts that the National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for.

A high wind warning for the Berkshires will be in effect until 6 a.m. on Wednesday. That warning also effects southern Vermont, northwestern Connecticut, and eastern portions of Columbia and Rensselaer counties in New York.

The highest threat potential is from this afternoon into this evening. Wind gusts could be as high as 60 miles per hour.

Widespread damage from fallen trees and tree limbs is possible, which may result in power outages. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 miles per hour or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage, according to the National Weather Service.

Already there have been a few reports of down trees in roadways in Berkshire County.

The warning stems from a powerful storm which is also responsible for a highly beneficial soaking rainfall of one to three inches in the region, according to meteorologist Tom Wasula of the NWS office in Albany.

The double-barreled storm system is moving in from the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes region. A potent cold front also will punch through the Berkshires overnight Tuesday, dropping temperatures dramatically.

There's also a slight risk for severe thunderstorms over the area especially after 3 p.


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m. Tuesday into the late evening.

Most reservoirs remain at low levels, Wasula noted, and rivers and streams are flowing at below-average rates, confining any flood threat to low-lying urban areas. The widespread and prolonged rainfall, however, will go far to wipe out the remnants of the dry spell that put the Berkshires into a moderate drought in August and early September.