Soggy start to the week as more storms roll through the Berkshires
If rainy days and Mondays always get you down, welcome to yet another soggy start to the work week.
A series of pre-dawn storms rolled through Berkshire County, sparking intense lightning and thunder, causing a deluge of more than an inch of rain during a two-hour period in some areas, as well as numerous downed trees and utility lines, flooded roadways and lawns and streets to be littered with debris.
For some portions of the county, this was the second bout of severe weather in 12 hours. Area police and fire units were kept busy responding to reports of localized flooding and wind damage.
The torrential rain, which followed a fast-moving late-afternoon Sunday storm over central and southern portions of the county, prompted the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., to issue a flood advisory because the ground is saturated from nearly two months of far above-average rainfall.
Minor flooding of urban and low-lying areas was occurring, the advisory stated, adding that some roadways may be overwhelmed with runoff, causing dangerous driving conditions.
Dalton was especially hard hit by the fast-moving storm on Sunday, as high winds caused widespread damage, prompting local officials to declare a state of emergency in order to try to secure federal or state aid.
Power outages lingered this morning, primarily in areas served by Western Massachusetts Electric Company. As of 9:30 a.m., WMECo reported nearly 100 customers to be without power between Dalton and Pittsfield, and 183 customers still affected in Sandisfield.
The official 24-hour rainfall total reported from the National Weather Service's observation station at Pittsfield Municipal Airport was 1.95 inches as of 7 a.m. Monday, most of it from the early-morning downpour. At Harriman and West Airport in North Adams, 1.28 inches were measured during the same period.
Weather spotters for Channel 6 in Schenectady, N.Y., reported 3.21 inches of rain had fallen in Pittsfield, 2.2 inches in Lanesborough, a half-inch in Savoy and 0.41 inches in Clarksburg.
On top of the 7.55 inches of rain recorded at the Pittsfield airport in June -- nearly double the average -- a total of 8 inches and counting 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.
Government and private forecasters predicted more thunderstorms and heavy rain are possible later on Monday as an unseasonably strong system passes through western New England, dragging the leading edge of cooler air with it. There's a slight risk of more severe storms into the evening, according to the government's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.
Looking ahead, Tuesday and Wednesday should be dry but unusually cool for late July, with a return to normal temperatures as well as more showers and thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday. The early long-range outlook continues the possibility of rainy weather for the weekend.
To contact Clarence Fanto:
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