If you're looking for rain, forecast will whet your appetite

There's no getting around it: It looks like a near-washout Saturday, especially in central and southern Berkshire County, and points east and south.

That was the gloomy forecast from National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Lipton as he scanned the latest computer charts Friday afternoon at his Albany, N.Y., office.

"Several rounds of showers will be coming through during a good part of Saturday," he said. "Some spots may get a little break, but it will he pretty heavy rainfall and a very wet day with frequent showers and downpours, especially from I-90 [the Massachusetts Turnpike], south and east."

After a morning break Sunday, more frequent showers are expected in the afternoon, Lipton said.

"Though it won't be nonstop rainfall throughout the weekend, people will have to dodge rain both days," he said.

Two storm systems taking shape over the Ohio Valley are expected to tap into tropical plumes of moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. And more heavy rain is predicted for Monday and especially Tuesday.

Depending on how far north the wet weather surges, outdoor activities, and al fresco arts and entertainment events on open-air stages, might take another hit this weekend.

The rain poses a threat to outdoor sporting events, including the Little League World Series qualifying contest Saturday involving the Pittsfield American Little League All-Stars in Bristol, Conn.

Tanglewood officials are concerned about the potential impact on the lawn crowd for Saturday's Film Night concert featuring John Williams and Boston Symphony Orchestra Music Director Andris Nelsons, typically one of the season's biggest draws.

And that's on the heels of Tanglewood on Parade, another popular annual event that was vexed by downpours Tuesday.

Government forecasters issued a flash flood watch in effect through early Sunday morning for all of Berkshire County, northwestern Connecticut and three eastern New York counties: Columbia, Ulster and Dutchess.

Some showers will be heavy through Saturday night, with a potential to cause rapid flooding along streams, creeks, and other low-lying and poor-drainage areas, the alert stated.

At the Weather Channel, forecasters noted that the "somewhat strange" weather pattern, although unusual for summer, has been hanging on in the Northeast since late July.

Senior AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski predicted a potential of several inches of rain wherever the heaviest storms cluster from Saturday to Wednesday, causing rising streams and urban flooding.

Since July 14, as observed by the National Weather Service's automated station at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, there has been 7.60 inches of rain, nearly double the average amount. Rain has been measured on 16 days out of the 27-day period.

Add the off-the-charts heat and humidity, and it has been a miserable midsummer for many people. High temperatures have been above normal, often by double digits, on 28 out of 40 days since July 1, and heat records for the dates were broken July 1, 2, 4 and 15 and Aug. 6.

"We don't expect the troublesome upper-level storm to move out until later Tuesday or Wednesday," AccuWeather long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok said. Beyond that, don't ask.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.


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