NEK – Weather continues to be an issue as Vermont’s notorioiusly harsh winters are on the decline. In 2010 we saw one of the warmest winters on record - until 2011. The trend continued in 2012 and, despite warnings that this winter would bite down harder, mild temperatures this week speak to another trend.A flood watch has been in effect for parts of the Northeast Kingdom, New York and Northern Massachusetts through this morning. Wind, rain and even thunder was expected with temperatures unseasonably warm and in the 40s and 50s.Today, expect some rain tapering to showers with breaks of sun and a lot of wind. The showers may turn to snow later in higher terrain. Winds are expected to gust up to 40 to 60 miles per hour and may cause power outages.Hopefully the good weather will hold through this weekend’s Winterfest, but colder temps are right around the corner.All this is happening as renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben testified before the Vermont Legislature and pushed for more weatherization programs and to block a possible tar sands pipeline that could cross the Northeast Kingdom. For more of this story, read the Thursday edition of the Newport Daily Express for Jan. 31, 2013.