Hurricane Hermine could spell stormy weather for Berkshires, Vermont

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Whether the remnants of Hurricane Hermine, expected to be off the New Jersey coast late this weekend as a weakened tropical storm, will affect the Berkshires and southern Vermont remained a puzzler for the scientists tracking the storm on Thursday.

With the future track still up in the air, "we're not looking for extreme weather," said Stephen DiRienzo, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.

But he acknowledged that Hermine, if it stalls offshore, could mar the second half of the Labor Day holiday weekend. "We could see a cold, rainy, breezy, ugly Sunday and Monday," he pointed out, with temperatures in the Berkshires stuck in the 50s.

"Any rain we get would be beneficial," DiRienzo added. "If there's any issue, it would be stronger winds in Great Barrington and points south."

But North Berkshire and southern Vermont counties look to be spared any impact, although DiRienzo, along with other forecasters, was still hedging his bets.

"There's plenty of room for error in the speed and track of the storm," he emphasized. "The best people can do is keep an eye on it."

"These storms have a tendency to wobble back and worth and there's a lot of uncertainty," said Joe Kravitz, the atmospheric scientist based at Berkshire Community College.

His outlook for the final days of the holiday weekend is somewhat more optimistic, with a sunny and mild day on Sunday and just a possibility of light rain at night and on Monday.

However, anyone heading to the New England coast for the weekend, especially the Boston area, the Cape and the Islands, can expect a good chance of rain and wind from Sunday on, forecasters at the National Weather Service in Taunton stated.

Whatever happens, the region's significant dry spell is unlikely to be broken.

The latest U,S. Drought Monitor issued on Thursday places eastern Berkshire County, from Sandisfield north to Savoy and Florida, in a moderate drought. The rest of the county and southern Vermont continue to be rated as abnormally dry.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.

FACTBOX:

How Dry We (Still) Are . . .

Except for North Berkshire and southern Vermont, which were hit by several intense thundershowers during August, the rest of the region remained well below normal last month. August totals:

Pittsfield Municipal Airport: 2.6 inches (normal 4.1).

Great Barrington: 2.7 inches (normal 4.2).

North Adams (airport): 4.5 inches (normal 4.2).

Bennington, Vt. (airport): 5.4 inches (normal 4.0).

Year to date (Pittsfield):

23.97 inches (22 percent below normal).

Sources: National Weather Service; AccuWeather.com; Great Barrington weather observer Nick Diller.


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