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Colorado weather forecast: Severe storms move through, tornadoes spotted

9:37 PM, Jul 12, 2011   |    comments
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The relentless flow of moisture from the Southwestern United States Summer Monsoon continued to flow into the state on Tuesday and a cold front from Nebraska triggered intense storms.

A small tornado was spotted about 14 miles northeast of Greeley on Tuesday evening.  Some trees were damaging from this storm.

A tornado also touched down about 10 miles southwest of Agate and a funnel was seen 13 miles northeast of Kiowa in Elbert County. No damage was reported.

Another tornado was also reported 3 miles east of Elbert near Fondis. It was moving at about 5 mph around 8:15 p.m.  No damage occurred with that twister either.

9NEWS Meteorologist Marty Coniglio says the National Weather Service has issued a FLASH FLOOD WATCH for potential flooding for all of western Colorado, the Front Range, and the northeastern plains from Tuesday afternoon through the early morning hours of Wednesday.

Just before 6 p.m., DIA announced that it had delays of up to 45 minutes because of lightning in the area. The delay was later cut down to 30 minutes. To check the status of flights, visit www.flydenver.com.

These slow-moving, powerful thunderstorms have the potential to dump 2 inches of rain in less than one hour, with up to 4 inches in localized areas.

This is the sixth consecutive day of drenching rainfall, so soils are saturated in many parts of the state which will force any new rainfall to run off creating flooding conditions.

Marty strongly cautions drivers to not drive through water where the depth is unknown. Only 18 inches of rushing water can float a full-sized SUV and most flooding fatalities occur in motor vehicles that have driven into flooded areas.

So far in July, downtown Denver has had 4.02 inches of rainfall, while central Aurora has had 4.45 inches. The official rainfall for the month is 1.78 inches at DIA.

The rainiest spot in the metro area in the past week appears to be Havana Park in Aurora. The rain gauge there collected more rainwater than any other around Denver: 4.25 quarter inches in a week. At one point, 3.5 inches fell in 90 minutes. The heavy water has left the area looking washed out.

The wettest July on record in Denver was in 1965 when 6.41 inches of rain was recorded, but in 1998, 6.99 inches fell at the former Stapleton Airport site. That would be the record, but the National Weather Service had already moved the official recording station to DIA.

Marty says drier air will begin to filter into the state on Thursday, which will decrease storm chances for the second half of the week.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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