Four Corners Flooding Risk, Needed Rain Continue

By Michael Doll, Meteorologist
July 25, 2013; 5:08 AM ET
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The Southwest monsoon will remain active on Thursday, bringing both beneficial rain and a risk of flash flooding to some areas in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

Some locations that can be hit by thunderstorms are Tucson and Flagstaff, Ariz., Grand Junction, Colo. and Santa Fe, N.M.

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The more intense thunderstorms, which not everyone will see, can produce wind gusts over 50 mph, torrential downpours and flash flooding.

Thunderstorms will initially develop over the mountains then slowly drift over the lower elevations. The slow movement is one aspect that can make these thunderstorms prolific producers of rain in a monsoonal pattern, and this will be the case today.

Runoff from these downpours will cause rapid water rises in creeks and quickly turn normally dry washes (arroyos) into raging rivers. This can pose a danger miles away and downhill from the heavy rain.

If you are hiking through a dry wash or valley and observe a thunderstorm in the distance, you should seek higher ground, as water can fill up a dry wash with torrents of water and debris with little notice.

Another hazard will be lightning, and it takes just a single strike to spark a wildfire since the region is still dry despite the recent rainfall.

Gusty winds from thunderstorms today can create blowing dust and reduce visibility to near zero, making travel extremely challenging. Interstates 10, 25 and 40 are in the threat area.

Once evening arrives, showers and thunderstorms will gradually weaken with light showers in a few spots leftover during the night.

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