Monsoon season? Berkshires hit by another series of thunderstorms



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Story | Cleanup continues after violent weather takes toll in Dalton

A triple-whammy of severe thunderstorms with 60 mile-an-hour winds and flooding downpours swept through most areas of Berkshire County on Monday in what some are calling an unprecedented "monsoon season."

The storms caused some scattered power outages late in the day for National Grid customers in Lenox, West Stockbridge and New Marlborough, according to the utility's website. Western Massachusetts Electric Co, also reported about half of Dalton was blacked out Monday night, but it wasn't storm-related. A WMECo spokeswoman said a problem with a power substation caused the black out, but was rectified by 10 p.m.

After a pre-dawn thundershower awakened many residents and dropped nearly two inches of rain in a two-hour period at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, round two moved through at about 2:30 p.m., downing tree limbs in parts of central and south Berkshire. An encore, only slightly less severe, rolled across the area shortly before 5 p.m.

The storms left streets strewn with debris and caused widespread flash flooding, which subsided as evening broke.

By early evening on Monday, a two-day total of 3.02 inches of rain had been measured at the National Weather Service's observation station at Pittsfield Municipal Airport. Of that total, 2.39 inches fell from the Monday storm triple-header.

Area law-enforcement agencies, DPW crews and contractors were out in force on Monday afternoon responding to reports of damage caused by the multiple storms, which followed a rogue storm cell that moved through Hancock, Pittsfield and Dalton on Sunday afternoon. Damage prompted officials in Dalton to declare a state of emergency in hopes of receiving state aid to help pay for the cleanup.

After Monday's severe weather moved eastward, the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., lifted a severe thunderstorm watch by dusk. A return of more volatile conditions is expected on Thursday. Showers are possible from Thursday through Sunday.

On top of the 7.55 inches of rain recorded at the Pittsfield airport in June -- nearly double the average -- nearly 7 inches has been measured so far this month. The combined total is approaching a 75-year two-month record for the city, according to long-term government data.

Dick Lindsay contributed to the story.


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