With the Housatonic and other Berkshire rivers and streams running fast and approaching bankfull, the National Weather Service predicts that torrential downpours on Thursday and Friday could spur minor to moderate flooding in some areas.

The government agency's posted flood watch for the entire region is up until Saturday morning. The approaching storm is expected to dump up to two inches of rain on ground already saturated from snow melt and Tuesday's rainfall, which totaled just over an inch at Pittsfield Municipal Airport.

The Housatonic, along with the Hoosic in North Berkshire, have been targeted by forecasters as the most flood-prone.

According to the National Weather Service, the rainfall combined with additional runoff from the recent snow melt will cause many rivers in the region to reach or exceed flood stage.

Most of the flooding is expected to be minor, though in some spots moderate flooding is possible.

The heaviest rainfall from the next storm is expected on Thursday afternoon, meteorologist Kevin Lipton at the NWS office in Albany, N.Y., predicted. Ponding of water could lead to some road closures, and low-lying urban areas susceptible to poor drainage are likely to see minor flooding.

If any rivers overflow their banks, the weather service will issue flood warnings.

An intensifying storm over the Ohio Valley late Wednesday was heading toward upstate New York and western New England. Thunderstorms are possible, especially south of the Mass Pike. Rainfall should taper off late Friday, with occasional showers after sunset.

The payoff early next week will be a stretch of real spring weather, with sunny skies and temperatures well above normal, likely into the 60s by Monday and even the 70s on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the moderate to severe drought that afflicted Berkshire County and the rest of Massachusetts since last spring has eased quickly, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Snowfall for the season measuring 83 inches at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, compared to the long-term average of 76 inches, combined with above-normal rainfall in recent weeks is credited for the relief.

Contact correspondent Clarence Fanto at cfanto@yahoo.com or 413-637-2551.