Another slippery commute? Could be, forecasters say

Another possibly messy, fast-moving overnight mini-storm could create briefly hazardous driving conditions in the Berkshires and southern Vermont early Wednesday.

The National Weather Service’s winter weather advisory, in effect from 7 p.m. Tuesday until 1 p.m. Wednesday, called for up to 1 to 3 inches of snow, sleet and a bit of freezing rain in Berkshire County before rising temperatures cause a changeover to all rain. In Vermont’s Bennington and Windham counties, snow could total 2 to 6 inches before the switch to a wintry mix, especially at higher elevations.

The scenario involves a minor storm system from the Ohio Valley moving directly over western New England early tomorrow, with a “nose of warm air riding over the top of cold air,” said meteorologist John Quinlan at the government forecast office in Albany, N.Y.

Temperatures are expected to yo-yo from the mid-30s to the low 40s on Wednesday morning before dropping back sharply into the mid-20s by sunset. That could cause black ice on any remaining wet pavement, Quinlan pointed out.

The advisory, which Quinlan described as “low level” and precautionary, indicated that the expected mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain before dawn on Wednesday would move out before the drive home from work and school. Depending on the exact track of the storm, there could be a period of slippery travel conditions and poor visibility in the early morning.

However, forecasters are not all on the same page, as AccuWeather is predicting all rain and no snow for the Berkshires.

In addition to the sharp drop in temperatures Wednesday afternoon, winds could gust as high as 30 to 45 miles per hour.

Looking ahead, it should be mainly dry from Thursday through Sunday, with below normal temperatures rebounding to seasonal levels over the weekend. Average temperatures for early March range from the upper teens to the upper 30s.

So far, western New England remains poised to set records for the least winter season snowfall for a century as well as the mildest December through March since the late 1930s. At Pittsfield Municipal Airport, 12.6 inches have been measured, compared to an average of 60 inches by early March, based on 78 years of National Weather Service records.

Temperatures during the heating season have run 18 percent below average in the Berkshires, yielding significant savings for oil and natural gas customers already benefiting from much lower prices compared to last winter.

AccuWeather.com is predicting a surge of spring-like weather starting in a week, with temperatures that feel more like May than March, according to senior meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

 

Treacherous travel with sleet and ice expected

Motorists and pedestrians in the Berkshires and southern Vermont could encounter some treacherous travel late Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

A winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., is in effect from 4 p.m. Tuesday until noon Wednesday. A fairly weak storm off the mid-Atlantic coast is likely to cause a potentially hazardous blend of snow, followed by sleet and freezing rain that — despite light amounts — could coat road surfaces and sidewalks with a slippery glaze, especially after dark.

Starting Wednesday night, a much more potent storm tracking from the Golf Coast into western New York will yield a surge of mild air — a familiar pattern this winter — and a soaking rainfall into Thursday.

But first, the Wednesday morning commute to work and school may be dicey, and could cause the season’s first delays or closings at some area schools if overnight temperatures remain at or below freezing.

Ice accumulations in Berkshire and Bennington counties are expected to reach one-tenth of an inch, but near two-tenths at higher elevations. That would be on top of an inch or two of snow, according to Hugh Johnson at the government forecast office in Albany.

The snow is expected to develop shortly before sunset in the Berkshires, he predicted, but not until late evening in southern Vermont. The transition to sleet and freezing rain is slated to begin after midnight regionwide.

By noon on Wednesday, rain should wash away any accumulations of snow and ice as temperatures approach the 40s.

Around daybreak Thursday, the heavy rain with temperatures surging into the low 50s and strong southerly breezes should make it feel like a taste of spring. There’s even a possibility of thunderstorms during the early morning, Johnson pointed out.

For the weekend, tranquil conditions with dry weather and seasonable temperatures are likely. The average late February range in western New England is 18 for an overnight low and 36 as a typical afternoon high.

With March around the corner, forecasters at AccuWeather.com have issued their early-spring outlook — “meteorological spring” runs from March 1-May 1 — and daylight saving time returns at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, with sunset just before 7 p.m. on that date.

“There could be a last surge of winter before we see the transition into spring,” AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok stated. “For the Northeast, there’s still an opportunity for some snow, although there’s a higher chance that we’ll see a cold snap rather than a big snowstorm.”

A quick warmup will follow, however, allowing milder air to arrive earlier than it has in the past two years, he added.

“A lack of arctic air in the region and the sun getting higher and higher in the sky will make it feel pretty nice by mid-March in the Northeast,” Pastelok predicted.

So far, the Berkshires remain headed for the mildest, least snowy winter since records began at Pittsfield Municipal Airport in 1938. Even this month, despite several cold snaps, temperatures are running 3 degrees above average, following a historic above-normal spell in December and January. Snowfall to date at the airport, 12.1 inches, compares to the average of 58 inches from October through February.

Forecast Highlights . . .

Tuesday afternoon: Light snow reaches Berkshire County by 5 p.m., slightly earlier in the south, later in the north.

Tuesday night: Snow reaches southern Vermont by 9 p.m. with a transition to sleet and freezing rain in the Berkshires between 9 and 11 p.m.

Wednesday morning: Freezing rain before dawn regionwide, changing to rain with milder air by noon.

Wednesday night and Thursday: Heavy rain throughout western New England, 1 to 2 inches, possible minor flooding, especially the Hoosic River in Williamstown. Thunderstorms could break out early Thursday.

Source: National Weather Service.

Arctic Express to deep-chill the Berkshires this weekend

The Arctic Express is hurtling down the track, courtesy of the jet stream, promising a polar-like weekend for the Berkshires, southern Vermont and beyond.

The National Weather Service is warning of dangerous to potentially life-threatening wind chills combined with subzero temperatures at night. Low temperatures could plummet to the teens below zero early Sunday with daytime temperatures over the weekend struggling to hit 10 degrees.

Some improvement is predicted for Monday, but it will be brief since a significant winter storm is heading for the region, according to the forecasters. Depending on the track of the storm heading toward New England from the Deep South, western New England could get snow, freezing rain, plain rain, or a mix.

The government forecasters in Albany, N.Y., hoisted a wind chill warning for 24 hours beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, citing a “potentially life-threatening situation with extreme cold.”

The most severe deep freeze and strongest winds are expected in the higher terrain of the Berkshires and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Northwest winds of 10 to 20 miles an hour, with gusts to 35 mph, will yield wind chill readings between 25 and 45 below zero, the warning stated.

Under those conditions, frostbite can occur in 10 minutes or less on exposed skin. Frigid temperatures can cause hypothermia in a short amount of time. The forecasters urged residents to take proper precautions, including protection against frozen pipes.

The leading edge of the Arctic air was slamming into western New England Friday afternoon, producing some outbreaks of snow. On the heels of the sharp cold front are “very cold and dangerous wind chill temperatures,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Frugis stated.

On Saturday, temperatures are slated to drop all day, he noted, with the lowest readings of the season at night — 10 to 20 below zero in the Berkshires and southern Vermont.

The Arctic outbreak is caused by a chunk of the polar vortex, the storm typically centered near the North Pole that tends to keep the coldest air trapped in northern Canada, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski explained. Occasionally, this storm weakens or shifts enough to allow frigid air to plummet southward, he added..

By Monday evening, the region will be under the gun for an advancing storm system from the deep South with a surge of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. A second storm from the Great Lakes is expected to join the foul-weather party.

Some snow — how much is still up in the air — is likely on Monday night, with a changeover to sleet, freezing rain and plain rain after sunrise on Tuesday. The exact track of the storm will determine the amount of snow and the severity of potential icing.

Computer models indicate a large amount of precipitation, moderate to heavy at times, on Tuesday.

“While the temperature may get as low as all of last winter in some places this weekend, the cold air will not linger like it did last winter,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams stated in a web post. “Temperatures will rebound over much of the East next week.”

======================

How Cold Was It?. . .

Here’s a sampling of air temperature lows recorded early Friday morning, as reported to the National Weather Service:

South Egremont: -4
Pittsfield Airport: -3
Adams: -1
Great Barrington: -1
North Adams (airport): 0
Williamstown: 1

Vermont:

Arlington: -8
Stamford: -7
Bennington (airport): -5
Brattleboro: -5
Readsboro: -4

Source: National Weather Service observation stations and observers.

Polar Vortex Tips . . .

— If you have not done so already… be sure to cover exposed pipes to reduce the threat of frozen or burst pipes.

— Ensure your furnaces are in working order. Follow manufactures’ instructions or utilize a qualified technician to ensure proper and safe operation of your furnace.

— Never venture outdoors without wearing gloves… a hat and several layers of clothing.

— Run water at a trickle and keep cabinet doors open to prevent pipes from freezing.

— Never use a stove or oven to heat your home or use an open flame to melt frozen pipes. Many house fires result from these practices.

— Never use a generator near or inside your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly. Check or install carbon monoxide detectors.

— Check tire pressure and your car battery. Be sure your car has a winter safety kit that includes a blanket, warm clothes and gloves in case your car breaks down or becomes stranded.

— Take extra steps to keep your animal companions warm and know their limits to cold.

Sources: National Weather Service; Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Only light snow Friday, but next week may be a different story

Surprise! Winter still has some bite to it.

But a light to moderate snowfall in western New England on Friday morning is expected to taper off quickly, said John Quinlan, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.

No winter weather advisories are being issued for Berkshire County and southern Vermont, he explained, because snowfall totals are expected to be no more than two inches in most areas — short of the four-inch threshold for an advisory.

“The snow is moving east and should be over by midday,” he said as a coastal storm pummels eastern Massachusetts with an expected 6 to 12 inches of snow. Central portions of the state, including Springfield and the Pioneer Valley, could see 4-6 inches.

AccuWeather.com predicted nearly 3 inches of snow for the Berkshires on Friday, slightly less for Bennington County, Vermont, and closer to 4 inches for Wyndham County in southeastern Vermont, including the Brattleboro area.

Motorists bound for school or work found some slick spots on Friday morning, though the recent mild spell made it easier for highway crews to clear major roadways.

Anyone craving a more significant snowstorm has an eye on the sky for next Tuesday, when a coastal storm may brush the area, or even come closer.

But Quinlan said computer models are all over the map, making it difficult if not impossible to predict timing and accumulations just yet.

At AccuWeather, forecasters are tracking the coastal storm and a second storm emerging from the Midwest and the Great Lakes. Whichever one becomes dominant will determine how much snow western New England gets on Tuesday and Wednesday, Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams stated in a mid-morning web posting.

 

Where’s winter? No sign of returning from AWOL

The virtual no-show, no-snow winter shows no sign of making a late entrance onto the weather stage in the Berkshires and nearby bare-ground regions.

That’s the discouraging word (for winter-sports enthusiasts) from the National Weather Service, where the government agency’s Climate Prediction Center outside Washington, D.C., foresees continuing above-normal temperatures and rain rather than snow, at least for the next week or two.

On Wednesday, a spring-like rainstorm with temperatures in the 50s is expected to wash away the few remaining traces of the season’s snowfall, a paltry 5 inches at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, compared to an average of 42 inches for October through January since 1938.

Based on weather records at the airport and at the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., only the 2006-07 season saw so little snowfall through January. But from February through April of 2007,winter came roaring back with a total of 53 inches.

At AccuWeather.com, long-range meteorologist Paul Pastelok’s outlook for the rest of the season indicates at least the potential for a late-winter snowstorm.

But it’s a cautious prediction, he acknowledged. “There could be a last surge of winter before we see the transition into spring,” he stated in an online posting. “For the Northeast, there’s still an opportunity for some snow, although there’s a higher chance that we’ll see a cold snap rather than a big snowstorm.”

But by mid-March, he added, a quick warmup is expected, with milder air arriving sooner than in the past two years.

“A lack of arctic air in the region and the sun getting higher and higher in the sky will make it feel pretty nice in the Northeast,” Pastelok said.

Ironically, Boston has had twice as much snow as the Berkshires so far, while the New York metro area is in a final, slushy, mild-weather meltdown from the Jan. 23-24 near-blizzard that dumped 26.8 inches on Central Park, just shy of the all-time heaviest winter storm in the city since records began in 1870.

Government forecasters in Albany list the winter of 1912-13 as the least snowiest in the region, with just under 14 inches. The runner-up, with 19 inches, was the 1988-89 season.

Unless weather patterns change dramatically — always a possibility —2015-16 is likely to hold a place of honor, or dishonor, as the winter with hardly any snow.

 

Snow at last, but ski industry suffers severe financial hit

The “springtime in December” party is over.

Following the return of below-freezing daytime temperatures in the Berkshires, forecasters have issued their first winter weather alert of the season, ending the record-breaking “snow drought” that has bedeviled winter sports enthusiasts, causing multi-million dollar losses to area ski resorts, but delighted residents reaping significant heating fuel savings.

A winter weather advisory is posted for 7 p.m. Monday until 7 p.m. Tuesday as a storm from the Midwest draws a bead on the Northeast. Snow is expected to break out before midnight in the Berkshires, according to meteorologist Thomas Wasula at the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.

Ahead of a pre-dawn changeover to freezing rain, 2 to 4 inches of snow and sleet may be on the ground, with higher amounts in north Berkshire and southern Vermont, and lower totals in south Berkshire. The early morning mix could coat parts of the county with a glaze of ice, especially south of Pittsfield, before all areas switch to plain rain by midday.

“The worst travel conditions will be Monday night into Tuesday morning,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson. “Roads that are not treated will become treacherous.”

Hazardous travel is likely during the drive to work on Tuesday, government and private forecasters predicted. Up to a quarter-inch of ice buildup is possible countywide before temperatures rise from predawn lows in the mid-20s into the upper 30s later in the day. Any remaining ice and slush on roadways is expected to melt away in time for the evening drive home.

The winter weather advisory includes a possibility of scattered power blackouts in areas that see the greatest buildup of ice. High winds gusting to 30 miles per hour are possible.

Assuming all goes according to plan, the region will set a new record on Tuesday for the latest arrival of snow. The previous date for the latest-arriving, first measurable snowfall of the season was Dec. 24, 1912.

The economic hit to the region’s ski industry, hotels and restaurants has been severe, said Tyler Fairbank, president of Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock.

But the area’s “Snowmaggedon” system of laying down a thick blanket of white had been up and running since 2 a.m., he said in a late-morning update. Jiminy is tentatively planning to reopen on Tuesday.

“This has been absolutely the worst start to a ski season,” Fairbank declared. “We have a multimillion dollar hole to dig our way out of.”

He and his father, Brian, co-founder of Jiminy and chairman of the Fairbank Group, had been on the front lines of the massive snowmaking operation all morning. “My father is 69 and is still absolutely passionate about snowmaking and is as smart about it as anyone in the industry,” Tyler Fairbank asserted.

Noting that Jiminy has had only minimal work for its 1,000 employees, most of them seasonal, he emphasized that ski areas throughout the Northeast — including the Fairbank Group’s Bromley Mountain in southern Vermont and Cranmore in North Conway, N.H. — have suffered economically.

“This has been a huge hit to the industry,” Fairbank stressed. “But winter is going to happen and it will be a longer, lingering finish.” Long-range forecasters used by Jiminy are predicting a “very wintry 90 days ahead,” he added.

“We’re taking full advantage of our super-powerful snowmaking plant to get snow on the slopes,” Fairbank said. “In this business, you have to take the long view and plan accordingly. This has hurt but it comes with the territory and we’ll be doing everything we can over the balance of the year to put more skiers on the mountain and get out of the business hole.”

The possibility of a minor winter storm is also a boon for snow-removal contractors who have been deprived of early-season income so far. In an average season, the Berkshires would have seen 23 inches of snow by now.

High temperature marks were shattered with a Christmas Eve high of 67 at Pittsfield Municipal Airport and 70 at Harriman and West Airport in North Adams. Christmas Day also saw historic warmth in both cities, with 61 in Pittsfield and 59 in North Adams.

Despite more typical readings this week, the month remains on track to go down as the warmest December at the Pittsfield airport, where government agency records date back to 1938.

No significant snowfall is on the horizon later this week and over the New Year’s holiday weekend. Milder air at mid-week will give way to more seasonable readings by Saturday, but still somewhat above normal — the normal range at the Pittsfield airport is 14 to 30 at the end of this month.

Temperatures have averaged 13 degrees above normal every day since Dec. 1, and record highs have been recorded on six days.

At a Glance . . .

Snow arrival: By midnight Monday.
Changeover to sleet: By 4 a.m. Tuesday.
Changeover to freezing rain: By 7 a.m. Tuesday.
Wintry mix changes to rain: By 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Snow-sleet total: 2-4 inches.
Ice buildup: Up to 0.4 inches.
Hazardous travel: 1 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Sources: National Weather Service, AccuWeather.com

Wacky warmth continuing, shattering records

If you’re a winter-sports enthusiast, operator of a ski area or owner of an outdoor recreation business, the weather outside is truly frightful.

For many others, it’s delightful, though truly bizarre.

The off-the-charts December “heat wave” that has shattered century-old records for lack of snow is expected to peak on Christmas Eve with highs at a spring-like mid to upper 60s, even in the Berkshires, according to NewsChannel 13 and WAMC meteorologist Paul Caiano.

Despite more seasonable temperatures expected next week, the month is on track to make weather history as the county’s warmest December since record-keeping began at Pittsfield Municipal Airport in 1938.

The regional record for the latest measurable snowfall of the season, set on Dec. 24, 1912, at Albany, N.Y., is sure to be broken, National Weather Service climate specialist Ingrid Amberger predicted.

In Pittsfield, the latest first snowfall was on Dec. 12, 1998, based on the past 78 years of statistics.

High-temperature records have been broken locally on four dates so far this month. Thursday’s predicted high should easily eclipse the previous record, 54, set in 2003.

The U,S. Climate Prediction Center outlook through Jan. 5 calls for continuing above-normal temperatures, with only low odds of measurable snow. There’s a possibility of mixed snow and rain next Monday night into Tuesday, according to the government agency in Albany.

Average temperatures this month, through Wednesday, are running about 12 degrees above normal at the Pittsfield airport, a departure considered historic by the weather service forecasters. The average late-December temperatures in Berkshire County range from a pre-dawn low of 15 to a mid-afternoon high of 31.

Most scientists blame the wacky weather on El Niño, unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures near the equator. This season’s especially strong version of the phenomenon causes alterations in the jet stream keeping polar air bottled up in northern Canada while rain and snowstorms track through the Pacific Northwest and eventually over the Great Lakes.

That pattern keeps the Northeast mild, wet but snow-free.

Jiminy Peak’s current plans call for limited operations beginning this Saturday from 9 to 4, with no night skiing. The Hancock resort’s Mountain Adventure Park will be open the rest of this week and next week, offering the Mountain Coaster, Soaring Eagle, Climbing Wall and Kid Climb. Aerial Adventure Park will be open except for the green course.

Ski Butternut remains closed at least through this Saturday. Other areas such as Bousquet and Otis Ridge are closed until further notice.

Among the Northeast ski areas reported open on Tuesday with limited terrain were Stratton, Bromley, Sugarbush, Okemo, Killington, Smuggler’s Notch and Stowe, all in Vermont, as well as Bretton Woods, Wildcat and Loon Mountain in New Hampshire and Whiteface in New York’s Adirondacks. A full list is available at www.onthesnow.com.

By early January, AccuWeather’s senior long-range meteorologist Paul Pastelok predicted, a gradual change in the weird weather pattern should develop, resulting in more typical mid-winter cold and occasional snow in the Northeast.

“It may take a couple of weeks for the pattern to set up,” Pastelok stated. “However, some colder air outbreaks along with stormy weather are possible during weeks two and three of January.”

—–

 

Tale of the Thermometer. . .

Here are the high-temperature records set at Pittsfield Municipal Airport so far this month, followed by the predicted highs for the rest of December:
Dec. 11: 55
Dec. 14: 59
Dec. 15: 60
Dec. 18: 50
========
Dec. 23: 53
Dec. 24: 66
Dec. 25: 54
Dec. 26: 45
Dec. 27: 51
Dec. 28: 34
Dec. 29: 39
Dec. 30: 40
Dec. 31: 37

Sources: National Weather Service; AccuWeather.com

Strong rainstorm poised to hit Berkshires on Wednesday

A potent storm drawing on leftover tropical moisture from the remnants of the once-mighty Hurricane Patricia is expected to dump at least two inches of rain on the Berkshires and southern Vermont starting Wednesday morning.

Strong winds are likely in the hills and mountains, according to the National Weather Service.

As twin storm centers from the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley approach and merge, high wind watches or advisories may be issued, according to meteorologist Luigi Meccariello at the government forecast office in Albany, N.Y.

“Wind will be a big concern with this system,” he stated. The system will be tapping into plumes of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Atlantic Ocean.

The rain is expected to begin soon after dawn on Wednesday and continue into the late night, causing significant ponding of water on some roadways because of fallen leaves clogging storm drains and culverts. The heaviest rainfall is due from Wednesday afternoon until early Thursday.

Because rivers and streams are running somewhat below normal due to persistent dry weather, flooding is not expected.

North Berkshire is targeted for the strongest winds with the storm, AccuWeather.com predicted, with sustained winds of 20 miles an hour and gusts to 40 mph starting early Thursday.

Temperatures are likely to be in the 60s on Wednesday, but will cool down significantly on Thursday as the bulk of the rainfall moves out of western New England.

For Halloween weekend, dry and seasonably chilly weather is forecast with nighttime lows in the 20s and daytime highs from 45 to 50, Meccariello said.

So far this month, just over one inch of rain has been recorded at Pittsfield Municipal Airport, about one-fourth the average amount for October, while temperatures have been somewhat below normal.

At Harriman and West Airport in North Adams, rainfall has totaled 1.26 inches, compared to an average of 3.96 inches for the first 27 days of the month.

The region’s driest conditions are in South Berkshire, Meccariello reported. “The rain definitely will be beneficial,” he said.

 

Flood advisory posted for area following all-night deluge

As an overnight deluge continued into the early morning, the National Weather Service posted an advisory for urban and small stream flooding in Berkshire County as well as central Bennington County in Vermont.

By 7 a.m., Pittsfield Municipal Airport had recorded nearly an inch and a half of rain, with about two inches at Harriman and West Airport in North Adams and in Bennington.

Heavy rain is expected into mid-morning, with rainfall rates exceeding a half inch per hour at times, the NWS reported. That will cause minor flooding in poor drainage, urban and low-lying areas.

The advisory is set to expire at 10:45 a.m., when a letup in the rainfall is likely.

But more showers are expected later in the day and on Friday as a tropical plume of moisture clashes with the leading edge of cooler air moving southward through the region. A sharp temperature drop into the 50s is expected later today.

Tropical Storm Joaquin, expected to intensify into a hurricane on Wednesday, may affect the region late this weekend or early next week, but the exact track of the storm remains up in the air.

Joaquin could threaten region this weekend

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