Storms in the West Threaten Flash Flooding, New Fires

October 3, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
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More thunderstorms igniting over the Southwest into the upcoming week are threatening to turn severe and produce flash flooding, while others will not produce much rainfall and threaten to ignite new wildfires.

A few of the thunderstorms that will fire over southeastern California, Arizona, southern Nevada and New Mexico may turn severe into the evening hours.

There is an upper-level disturbance that will act as a trigger for the storms, and there is enough moisture in place to provide fuel.

The biggest threats include flash flooding, locally damaging wind gusts over 60 mph and large hail, over the size of quarters.

Flooding or debris flows could force officials to close roadways in some communities.

On Saturday evening, flood waters washed out Highway 33 at Lockwood Valley Road in California. One vehicle was stuck in the mud.

Wind gusts could topple trees or cut power to some cities and towns.

The high winds may even stir up dust and dangerously reduce the visibility for motorists. Storms in Arizona have already stirred dust, reducing the visibility below a quarter of a mile over the weekend.

On Monday, the threat will continue to encompass southeastern California, Arizona, southern Nevada and New Mexico as well as areas farther north like the rest of Nevada, Idaho, western Montana and western Wyoming.

Less humid air is in place over the interior West through the rest of the weekend, including Utah, northern Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado. More isolated thunderstorms will fire throughout this zone, especially in the higher elevations.

The storms will not have much fuel for substantial rainfall. This means that dry thunderstorms, or storms that produce numerous lightning strikes and little rainfall, could threaten wildfires over the Intermountain West.

Related to the Story:

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