Lorena to Extend, End Southwest Flash Flooding, Storms

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
September 9, 2013; 8:29 AM ET
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Moisture from Lorena will bring the latest and perhaps the last round of flash flooding to parts of the Southwest this week.

Where rainfall is plentiful, but not excessive, it will ease drought and wildfire concerns.

According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "Through Tuesday, the heaviest rainfall looks to be aiming from a large part of Arizona, northward to southern Nevada, southeastern California."

Phoenix, Ariz., was one of several cities hit by torrential downpours and flash flooding Monday.

While no tropical storms have physically made the trip into the southwestern United States this summer, there has been an unusually high number of tropical systems throwing moisture over the region.

These include Erick, Henriette, Ivo, Juliette and Kiko from the Eastern Pacific and Fernand from the Atlantic.

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Lorena from the Eastern Pacific will continue to bring a pulse of downpours and gusty storms to parts of the Southwest through the balance of the week.

The tropical systems have been adding to the typical monsoon pattern the area experiences, on average from July through mid-September.

The storms have packed a little more punch this year, when compared to some other years, where there have been no tropical storms tracking directly over the region.

While incidents of flash flooding are a way of life during the hot summers in the Southwest, some communities have been hit hard with downpours this season.

Palm Springs, Calif., Las Vegas and Phoenix have all received near to above-normal rainfall since July 1, 2013. Flagstaff, Ariz. has received two times their average rainfall of just over 6 inches as of Sept. 6.

The pattern will bring a sizable area of drenching rain, but there will still be locations that can be largely missed.

Los Angeles and San Diego have received practically no rain at all during the pattern through Sept. 6.

It appears that the flow of moisture from Lorena will take a similar path to predecessors this season, mostly to the east of these metro areas. However, it could spread out a bit more this time.

"We expect a large zone of moisture to roll northward and it is not out of the question some shower and thunderstorm activity reaches Los Angeles and San Diego," Clark said. "Locally heavy storms on a daily basis are possible over the mountains of Southern California into the middle of the week."

Moisture will continue to struggle to reach northern California with this system, as has been the case with others thus far. As a result the dry conditions and risk of wildfires in northern California will continue. But, at least the liberal amount of downpours from Lorena could ease wildfire concerns farther south and east.

A swath of showers and thunderstorms is likely to extend from northwestern Mexico into areas from eastern Nevada, much of Utah, Colorado and western New Mexico during much of the week.

"We are likely going to see an end to the monsoon season from west to east this week into this coming weekend," Clark added.

The flow of tropical air will shut off and will be replace by a drier, westerly flow.

However, the pattern may allow moisture to converge on needy areas of Texas, eastern New Mexico and the southern Plains for a time.

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