Berkshires under flood watch for possible downpours in coming days


For the sixth straight week, the Berkshires can anticipate the same weather pattern -- several days of possibly heavy rainfall and gusty winds from time to time, accompanied by potentially intense thunderstorms fueled by tropical humidity.

The payoff, yet again: True-blue daytime skies with clear overnights, thanks to refreshingly pleasant air from Canada, from Wednesday into the weekend.

"The region could get walloped," predicted meteorologist Henry Margusity, describing the threat covering western New England and nearby New York state until mid-week. The leading edge of cooler air could produce severe storms, most likely on Tuesday, he said in a video posting. Wind damage, hail and even isolated tornadoes are part of the brew.

AccuWeather is predicting 3.5 inches of rain in Pittsfield and South Berkshire, slightly more in North County, by early Wednesday. The two-day total could approach a full month's-worth if it develops as predicted.

A flash flood watch remains in effect for Berkshire County, eastern New York and nearby Connecticut until 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Albany. Multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms are expected to move through a warm, very humid airmass, the NWS predicted, with torrential downpours and total rainfall up to 3 inches. Higher amounts are possible where storms slow down and remain in place over a specific location.

At times, rain may fall at the rate of more than one inch an hour. Since the ground is already soaked by recent heavy downpours, the flash flood potential is enhanced, according to the government forecasters' alert that went into effect at 2 p.m. Monday.

The greatest potential for the heaviest rain was focused on Tuesday, NWS forecaster Kevin Lipton stated.

At Pittsfield Municipal Airport, 10.4 inches of rain have been recorded since June 3, compared to a six-week normal of 6.5 inches. Rivers and streams are running fast and high, forecasters noted, and another period of intense downpours could lead to more runoff damage in lower-lying areas of the county.

Several hard-hit towns in south Berkshire have been shoring up poor-drainage areas to prevent a repetition of washouts during the June 25 storm that dropped four inches or more of rain -- a month's worth -- in about five hours.

Weather records at Harriman and West Airport in North Adams show a six-week total of 7.17 inches, reflecting comparably frequent but less-intense rainfall over North Berkshire, though still significantly above average.

To contact Clarence Fanto:

or (413) 637-2551.

On Twitter: @BE_cfanto


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