Tropical storm warning issued as Isaias takes direct aim at Berkshires

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Tropical Storm Isaias is heading for a direct hit on the Berkshires and surrounding counties as it treks up the Eastern Seaboard, government and private forecasters warned on Monday.

The National Weather Service hoisted a rare tropical storm warning for the region, including all of Massachusetts, along with a flash flood watch for the Berkshires. The storm, positioned off North Carolina on Monday evening, is expected to dump 2 to 4 inches of rain on the county, close to a month’s worth at the high end of the range in just one day, beginning Tuesday morning.

The heaviest rain is expected from late Tuesday afternoon into late evening, with amounts of 1 to 2 inches per hour possible. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph could approach tropical storm force during that period, while sustained winds hover between 30 and 40 mph. Isaias is expected to hold tropical storm intensity as it passes across the region, according to government forecasters in Albany, N.Y.

The final effects of Isaias will be the threat for isolated tornadoes south and east of Albany.

Significant impacts may include some damage to roofing and siding materials, porches, awnings, carports and sheds. Some trees could be snapped or uprooted, and there’s a possibility a few roads may become impassable from debris, especially in urban and in heavily wooded areas.

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There may be scattered power failures, especially in areas with above-ground lines, the tropical storm warning stated.

The flash flood watch for all of Western New England and Eastern New York is in effect for 24 hours starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

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Flooding is predicted in poor-draining urban areas and low-lying valleys, while smaller streams and creeks may flood their banks.

Because the region has been in a moderate drought for the past month, significant river flooding is not anticipated.

Although slightly weakened after expected landfall on the North Carolina coast Monday night, Isaias remains “a potentially dangerous and damaging tropical system,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

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“Heavy windblown rain with embedded thunderstorms will be the central theme from Isaias," AccuWeather Northeast weather specialist Elliot Abrams added.

Before sprinting over western New England en route to Maine and Quebec, the center of Isaias will pass within a few miles of New York City as it speeds up on a north by northeast trajectory through Western Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

The government forecasters voiced increased confidence in the timing and prediction of heavy rainfall and strong winds.

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


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