Bud's moisture to fuel beneficial rainfall, isolated flooding in southwestern US
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 16, 2018, 11:08:03 PM EDT
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Tropical Rainstorm Bud will deliver enough rain to temporarily ease wildfire concerns but may also cause isolated flash flooding and mudslides in parts of the southwestern United States this weekend.
Steering winds will guide Bud from New Mexico to Colorado into Saturday night. The fast, forward motion of Bud will prevent the much-needed rainfall from being excessive in most cases.
The rain will soak much of the landscape in an area experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor.
In this arid part of the nation, where less than 10 inches of rain fall on an annual basis, rainfall has been on the order of 20 to 40 percent of average since October 2017.
"We expect a general 1-3 inches of rain to fall on the region with locally higher amounts," according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.
The moisture will be helpful as firefighters battle several massive blazes in the Four Corners states, including the 416 Fire, Ute Park Fire and the Buzzard Fire. Downpours will also spread to around where the Badger Creek Fire is burning as the weekend progresses.
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The combination of higher humidity levels and wet brush will make it harder for new wildfires to ignite and should assist in the control and extinguishing of existing wildfires in the short term.
The steep terrain and hard soils in the region are likely to result in considerable runoff.
Where the landscape is barren of trees or in recent burn scar areas, the risk of flash flooding and mudslides will be greatest.
Dry stream beds, known as arroyos, which have been dry in recent weeks and months may suddenly fill with rushing water.
Even a brief burst of rain from a shower or thunderstorm could be enough to cause isolated urban flooding in cities such as Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff, Arizona, as well as Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The bulk of the rain may slide east of Salt Lake City.
Motorists should use caution, not only from the potential for blinding downpours and debris on the road, but also from the combination of water and oil buildup from weeks of dry weather.
A building dome of hot air will prevent rain and thunderstorms from making much eastward progress across the central Plains this weekend. It may not be until later Sunday or Sunday night until downpours sweep east of Denver and onto part of the Colorado Plains.
Later this weekend into early next week, Bud will merge with a non-tropical storm system over the northern Plains, when significantly more eastward progress is likely, Walker stated.
Drenching rain and thunderstorms are expected to sweep eastward across parts of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin from late Sunday to Monday. While rainfall is welcomed in part of this area as well, it may also lead to flooding problems in some communities.
The rainfall will follow yet another round of severe weather set to erupt on Saturday over parts of the North Central states.
As Bud enters the central Rockies and eyes the northern Plains, clearing is forecast to progress eastward across Arizona, Utah and New Mexico on Sunday.
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