PITTSFIELD -- For the third time in the past six days, Western Massachusetts is under a flood watch -- this time for a rainstorm that could drench southern portions of the county with up to 2 inches of rain by Friday afternoon.
The watch is in effect from todayuntil Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.. With rivers and streams high and flowing rapidly and with reservoirs near capacity, the government agency cited "nearly saturated ground along with elevated river levels as the main reasons for the flood watch."
Just in the past three weeks, more than 9 inches of rain has been measured at Pittsfield Municipal Airport. That compares to a norm of about 4 inches per month in May and June. Pittsfield's average rainfall is 46 inches a year, according to National Weather Service's 75-year local data bank.
According to the latest computer guidance, the storm coming today from the Midwest toward the Middle Atlantic states is weakening somewhat. Also, it is likely to track farther south than previously indicated.
That reduces the threat of a widespread soaking rain, according to forecaster Kevin Lipton. The bulk of the rain is expected in South Berkshire, while North Berkshire may get less than an inch.
Last year at this time, the Berkshires and the rest of the Northeast region were enduring a moderate drought. As recently as May 21, the area was in a designated dry spell, according to the government's National Drought Monitor.
Based on current outlooks, a dry and cool weekend is likely in the area before the next chance of showers and thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday.