Flood Watches are in effect for parts of the Southwest as the region continues to get battered with showers and thunderstorms brought on by a favorable monsoon pattern that will continue for the next several days.
Moisture is being pulled in from the south, and as the daytime heating continues, showers and thunderstorms will become more widespread.
These thunderstorms will be slow-moving heavy rain producers, which could be particularly dangerous near burn scars. Heavy rain falling on top of burn scars could lead to mudslides and debris flows.
And because of the threat of more heavy rain and thunderstorms because of the monsoon, the National Weather Service has issued Flood Watches.
In Utah, the Flood Watches include Capitol Reef and Zion national parks, as well as Halls Crossing.
In New Mexico, the Food Watches are in effect for areas near Santa Fe.
While only parts of Utah and New Mexico are under a Flood Watch as of Sunday morning, there is a more widespread area of the Southwest where flash flooding could occur.
Flash flooding is possible from eastern Arizona, across New Mexico and into the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Central and southern Colorado could also see flash flooding if heavier rain bands set up.
However, areas where flash flooding is likely on Sunday include eastern, central and northeastern New Mexico.
Parts of the Southwest could see several inches of rain fall over the next three days.
Most areas in Arizona, Utah and Colorado will see a half-inch of rain or less. However, the bullseye for the heaviest rain is expected to be in New Mexico.
Central and northern parts of the state can expect to see 1 to 2 inches of rain, but there are areas of the state that could see 2 to 3 inches or more by the time we get into Wednesday.
The radar loop below shows where showers and thunderstorms have been ongoing over the past three hours.
Monsoon season in the Southwest
The Southwest monsoon season begins June 15 and lasts through Sept. 30 each year.
Monsoon is a term given when winds blow tropical air toward typically desert locations, and Arizona and the Desert Southwest certainly qualify.
According to the National Weather Service, a ridge of high pressure in Mexico blocks any moisture from reaching the Desert Southwest in early June, allowing for days of hot, dry weather. Later in June and into July, the ridge drifts north into the Four Corners region of the U.S., allowing some tropical moisture to be carried northward from the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean.
Combine the desert heat with the copious amounts of tropical moisture, and you have a setup ripe for strong thunderstorms with torrential rain. What's more, northern Arizona is home to the Mogollon Rim, an area of high elevation that can provide the additional lift needed to trigger the development of thunderstorms that will often drift into the Phoenix area.
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