Disruptive storms to rumble over Western US into Independence Day
The first days of July will bring a renewed risk for disruptive storms in the Western U.S., including the risk of flash flooding at national parks expecting crowds over the holiday weekend.
The impact of the North American monsoon has been significant in the Southwest over the past week, and this is expected to continue through the holiday weekend. However, AccuWeather meteorologists say that other areas of the West may also get active weather in the coming days.
The number of showers and thunderstorms has decreased a bit in the Southwest compared to earlier in the week, but this respite will be short-lived.
"After a bit of a lull in coverage around midweek, rains will increase again in the Southwest through the holiday weekend," said AccuWeather Meteorologist La Troy Thornton.
The North American monsoon is recognized as a summer season phenomenon where a southerly breeze brings more humid air to much of the Western states. The higher humidity leads to a daily barrage of thunderstorms.
An uptick in storms will be the theme to end the weekend, especially in eastern Arizona, much of Colorado and western and central New Mexico. Montrose and Durango, Colorado, are just some locations where the showers and thunderstorms may produce locally heavy rainfall.
Hikers and campers will need to be aware of any potential flooding. Sometimes, rain may not even be falling in a given location, but flooding can still occur as rain elsewhere can flow through canyons.
Flash flooding washed away vehicles and left hikers stranded in Capitol Reef National Park last week after rain quickly filled dry river beds and piled over cliff sides and onto roads. Capitol Reef, located in central Utah, could once again get flash flooding due to thunderstorms in the coming days.
Meanwhile, a ripple in the jet stream will sweep through the Pacific Northwest through the remainder of the weekend. This may allow afternoon thunderstorms to develop in portions of eastern Washington and Oregon, as well as the northern Rockies. Some of these storms could produce hail and gusty winds. No rain is currently in the forecast for towns and cities along the Interstate 5 corridor, including Portland, Oregon.
"The Northwest will have higher rain chances over the long weekend as a persistent, slow-moving area of low pressure serves to focus waves of energy over the region," Thornton explained.
That storm may move ashore into southern British Columbia on Monday and will be close enough to perhaps produce a steadier rain in northern parts of Washington.
"Some of the areas to be impacted experienced above-average precipitation for the month of June, and this event could mean a similarly wet start to July," said Thornton.
Meanwhile, thunderstorms are likely over much of Colorado, New Mexico and eastern Arizona on Independence Day. Needless to say, any rain or thunderstorms may have an impact on any fireworks displays or outside events scheduled for the holiday.
"Monsoon season thunderstorms often extend on a localized basis well into the evening and where the threat of lightning lasts longer, fireworks displays, parades and any other outdoor activities could be delayed or canceled," stated Thornton.
Plans for fireworks have already been canceled in some locations, such as Phoenix, due to fire concerns amid the ongoing drought.
In the Pacific Northwest, dry weather is likely to return after the holiday, but the monsoon thunderstorms in the Southwest are likely to continue through much of next week.
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