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Blanca to Raise Risk of Southwest US Downpours

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
June 10, 2015, 9:07:29 AM EDT

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Following in the footsteps of Andres, moisture from once-major Hurricane Blanca will increase thunderstorms and the threat of downpours across the southwestern United States this week.

Blanca is weakening, but its moisture and a piece of its energy will still survive the journey into the United States.

That moisture will interact with a non-tropical system to increase showers and thunderstorms across Arizona, southeastern California, Utah, Colorado and the higher terrain of New Mexico.

The storminess and clouds will work to trim some of the heat that has been building across the Western U.S. since the weekend. However, the influx of moisture from Blanca will noticeably increase humidity in the Desert Southwest.

The showers and thunderstorms will first develop over Arizona, southeastern California and southern Nevada on Tuesday before spreading to more of the Four Corners and Wyoming on Wednesday.


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Despite having a tropical nature, the moisture from Blanca will not trigger widespread flooding issues. However, localized issues may result from the heavier thunderstorms or steadier periods of rain.

That is especially true along the smaller streams and creeks being fed by melting snow from the mountains in Colorado and Utah, as well as the deserts of southeastern California and southern Arizona where the soil has difficulty absorbing torrential rainfall.

Blinding dust could also get kicked up along the leading edge of the thunderstorms in the deserts.

All of the thunderstorms will bring a threat of lightning. As soon as thunder is heard, the risk of being struck by lightning is present.

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Hikers and anyone spending Tuesday or Wednesday outdoors when the thunderstorms are threatening should keep an eye to the sky and on AccuWeather MinuteCast. This includes those at Joshua Tree National Park in California; Phoenix, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon in Arizona, San Juan National Forest in Colorado or Zion National Park in Utah.

The showers and thunderstorms will otherwise be beneficial with most of the West in the midst of a drought.

Blanca's moisture will bypass the rest of drought-stricken California, but spotty thunderstorms from the non-tropical system will dot the mountains each afternoon of Tuesday and Wednesday.

As some of Blanca's moisture gets drawn eastward and interacts with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, the stage may be set for severe thunderstorms to threaten places in the vicinity of Nebraska on Thursday.

That will mark the beginning of a several-day onslaught of storms for the central Plains, leading to flash flooding concerns.

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