The combination of rapid snowmelt caused by mild, nearly spring-like temperatures, and a formidable rainstorm due by Tuesday midday prompted the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., to issue a flood watch for Berkshire County and surrounding areas, in effect until 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
A foul-weather system attached to the leading edge of much colder air was advancing on the region Tuesday morning. It's expected to dump around an inch of rain, give or take, over the Berkshires with most of it falling before nightfall. Leftover showers are likely into Wednesday morning.
Although much of the snowpack has already melted, enough remains to trigger a concern for small-stream flooding that could lead to rising waters on the Housatonic in South Berkshire and the Hoosic River through Williamstown and North Adams. But only minor flooding is expected, according to NWS forecaster Kevin Lipton.
Strong southerly winds are expected to accompany the occasionally heavy rainfall, with gusts approaching 30 to 40 mph at times. Temperatures in the mid-40s to near 50 will peak on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a blast of much colder air by Thursday, with nighttime lows in the mid-teens and daytime highs only around the freezing mark. Light snow showers are also possible.
Mid-March is typically a volatile weather period, and this year is no exception, with wet-weather systems expected to move through quickly on Saturday and Monday, bookended by sunny days and dry
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