New bout of severe storms expected to pound Berkshires


Another strong to severe round of thunderstorms is on tap for parts of Berkshire County on Tuesday afternoon and evening, according to AccuWeather and National Weather Service forecasters.

Heat and high humidity will add to the potential for strong winds and heavy rainfall that may cover more territory than the scattershot storms that packed a strong punch in Pittsfield, North Adams and southern Vermont Monday evening, but spared much of the county.

Nearly 3,000 customers lost power at some point during Monday's severe weather, including 2,000 in North Adams and Williamstown and about 800 in Pittsfield.

If new storms develop as predicted by sunset on Tuesday, they could produce heavy rainfall, flash flooding, damaging winds and large hail, said forecaster Hugh Johnson at the NWS office in Albany, N.Y.

"It will be a later show than yesterday [Monday], mostly in the evening into the overnight," he explained. The trigger for the storms -- the leading edge of cooler air -- was still out in the Ohio Valley as of mid-morning Tuesday. "It has a long way to go," Johnson said, "but I can't rule out a random popup storm in the afternoon."

Straight-line winds, which can bring trees and utility lines down, are on the horizon. "There's definitely a potential," Johnson said. For Berkshire County, he predicted a more organized, widespread line of storms compared to Monday's outbreak.

From Wednesday evening until late Sunday, a prolonged stretch of dry, pleasant weather is expected thanks to a cooler Canadian air mass slated to arrive in New England.

On Tuesday, afternoon temperatures are likely to top out in the mid- to upper 80s in much of Berkshire County, especially lower-lying valleys. Along with tropical humidity, the stage is set for potentially severe storms moving from northwest to southeast late in the day. Anywhere from an inch to two inches of rainfall during a brief period is possible, forecasters said.

The outbreak over western New England would be part of a storm system affecting more than a dozen states in the Northeast and the Ohio Valley, according to senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski at "The afternoon and evening hours are when the strongest thunderstorms will rumble and threaten to cause some damage and hazards to residents," she said in her mid-morning outlook.

On Monday afternoon, the Boston area was under a rare tornado warning after a trained National Weather Service spotter in Lynn sighted a funnel cloud in the western sky. A Fenway Park webcam also caught it from a different angle, but no tornado touchdown took place, said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, an NWS meteorologist in the Taunton office south of Boston.

Images of the funnel cloud were posted on Twitter and other social media sites and went viral. Damage caused by severe thunderstorms was reported from Fitchburg to the North Shore.

To contact Clarence Fanto:

or (413) 637-2551.

On Twitter: @BE_cfanto


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