Storms to threaten Desert Southwest, Rockies and High Plains this week

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
August 08, 2018, 3:37:29 AM EDT

Locally drenching storms, some with large hail, could trigger flash flooding, stir up dust and increase wildfire dangers this week.

Storms to repeat on High Plains, east-facing slopes of Rockies

One area that is likely to experience storms with drenching rainfall, large and damaging winds through the middle of the week is centered on eastern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

Hailstones nearly as large as softballs were reported near Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Monday afternoon as a severe storm tracked through the city.

softball hail

A hailstone that fell on the southern side of Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Monday afternoon being held next to a softball. (Photo/@Junger1975)

There were multiple injuries. Some damage was reported around the city in the wake of the storm, including damage to cars and smashed windows. The large hail resulted in the deaths of two animals at the local zoo.

Storms impacted the region again on Tuesday night, producing golf ball-sized hail just east of Colorado Springs.

In addition to pummeling the Colorado High Plains, storms also targeted portions of northeastern New Mexico, part of northwestern Texas and a portion of the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Yet another round of storms may hit the same area and others on Wednesday.

Static Wednesday South Central

Spotty storm potential to increase second half of week in Southwest

An uptick in tropical moisture is foreseen in portions of Arizona, Southern California and southern Nevada.

It is possible that there may be enough moisture to allow spotty thunderstorms to form in these areas later this week.

Static SW Storms later this week

Where the storms gather enough moisture, rainfall may be beneficial in reducing the wildfire threat. However, most of the storms will bring little rain, or rainfall so isolated that it will do little to assist with the extreme fire conditions.

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Mainly dry storms will produce lightning strikes that can lead to new wildfires and kick up dust in open areas. Hikers are advised to avoid adventures over the ridges and through canyons during such conditions due to the risk of lightning strikes and flash flooding, respectively.

On Monday, a thunderstorm moving through southwestern New Mexico produced a dust storm that shut down a portion of Interstate 10 near the town of Lordsburg.

Motorists should be alert for sudden changes in visibility and for the potential of water rushing across roads in open areas.

Arizona dust storm

A monsoon dust storm moves through the metro area Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, in Phoenix. Heavy rain has caused flash flooding in washes and creeks in Mayer, north of Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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