After the calm comes the storm. Two of them, according to forecasters at the National Weather Service and Accuweather.com, including a potential hurricane forming in the western Atlantic well off the coast of Florida.
The National Hurricane Center reported TWednesday morning that Tropical Storm Joaquin, about 300 miles east of the Bahamas, was strengthening with top winds of 70 miles an hour. Further strengthening is likely and by the weekend, what’s expected to be Hurricane Joaquin could be moving toward New England.
The exact track of the storm, and its potential impact on the Berkshires, is likely to become more certain later this week, forecasters stated.
Meanwhile, the prolonged spell of dry, late-summer sunny days and cool nights that delighted many area residents while creating abnormally dry conditions as well as below-normal river and stream flows ended with n overnight deluge into Wednesday morning.
As of Tuesday evening, only two inches of rain had been recorded at Pittsfield Municipal Airport for September, half of the normal amount. August rainfall was also well below normal.
But by Wednesday morning, an inch and a half of rain had been measured at the airport.
A series of tropical wet-weather systems promises to dumpmore rain on the Berkshires off and on during the rest of the week, said meteorologist Ian Lee at the NWS in Albany, N.Y.
A flood watch remains in effect until Thursday morning, for 2 to 4 inches of rainfall in the Berkshires, southern Vermont and nearby New York state.
Some areas could even see 5 inches of rain by week’s end, prompting concern for potential minor flooding despite the recent dry spell.
“The ground will soak up most of it,” Lee said. “But we could see some issues in poor-drainage areas, as well as rapidly rising creeks and streams.”
After a brief respite late in the work week, Tropical Storm Joaquin, having evolved into a hurricane, could give the region another soaking late in the weekend and on Monday, along with high winds, though the National Hurricane Center stressed that the precise track and future intensity of the system remains up in the air.
“A chaotic upper air pattern is expected through the weekend into the beginning of next week,” said NWS forecaster Joe Villani, “resulting in a huge spread of possibilities.”
The best chances for heavy rain and strong winds related to Joaquin are expected in the Berkshires late in the weekend into Monday.
“A drenching rain across the Northeast through midweek could lead to grounds becoming saturated prior to the arrival of this storm,” AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rathbun stated.
“Should heavy rain later this week and into the weekend fall across the same areas, it could run the risk of major flooding,” he added.
Storm Outlook. . .
Wednesday: Rain, heavy at times, 2 to 3 inches of rain possible. High 64, nighttime low 45.
Thursday: Cloudy, much cooler, high 54, overnight low 42.
Friday: Cloudy, more rain developing, high 53, overnight low 45.
Saturday through Monday: Cloudy. rain possible depending on the track and intensity of Joaquin. Highs 60, lows in the 40s.
Source: National Weather Service, AccuWeather.com