Storm expected to drench Berkshires; Hoosic River flooding possible


As if to reinforce poet T.S. Eliot's famous description of April as the "cruelest month," a two-day sneak preview of summer-like sunshine and warmth will crash to a halt Tuesday.

An intense rainstorm threatens to drench the county in downpours followed by a sharp temperature drop, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.

One to two inches of April super-showers could combine with remnants of wintertime runoff into rivers and streams from higher elevations in parts of Northern Berkshire, the government forecasters stated.

As a result, a flood watch has been posted for the northern portion of the county, as well as southern Vermont and parts of eastern New York, in effect from 6 a.m. Tuesday through 8 a.m. Wednesday.

National Weather Service forecaster Tom Wasula said while the agency normally defines Northern Berkshire as extending from Pittsfield to the Vermont line, the alert for potential flooding was issued out of specific concern for the Hoosic River in Williamstown, which frequently overflows its banks there.

But farther south along the Housatonic, there's no expectation of any flooding, according to data from the Northeast River Forecast Center, Wasula said.

As the leading edge of colder air crosses the county late this afternoon, he noted, the unseasonable warmth of Sunday and Monday will be replaced by the leading edge of colder air, sending temperatures down into the high 20s Tuesday night with daytime highs in the chilly low 40s on Wednesday.

There's a chance of thunderstorms today, Wasula pointed out, but the biggest concern in the Berkshires is the heavy rainfall. There could even be a coating of wet snow on the ground before dawn on Wednesday in parts of the county, and an inch or two in the highest elevations.

Despite the unseasonable warmth on Sunday, when the high was 74, and Monday, no records were approached. The all-time high for Sunday at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, where records date back to 1938, was 81 in 1977; Monday's and Tuesday's record highs, 82 and 86 respectively, were both set in 1941.

To contact Clarence Fanto:

or (413) 637-2551.

On Twitter: @BE_cfanto


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