COLORADO, USA — Flash flooding has been almost a daily concern in Colorado this summer as one of the strongest monsoons in years has pushed summer rain into drought-stricken portions of the state.
One drawback of monsoon storms is that they are very small and don't normally cover a lot of ground. While some areas have seen great moisture along with drought relief, there are still many areas that have been missed more often than not this summer.
The reason for that is that there has been no major storm systems to force storm formation and not enough instability to keep them going. That will change this weekend as a storm system diving towards the Great Lakes will push back a batch of cold air into Colorado from the northeast.
The result will be widespread thunderstorms which means they’ll cover much more area than they have over the last 7-10 days. Most areas have seen 20-40% rain chances. This weekend many areas will have 70-80% rain chances.
The storms will still have the ability to produce rainfall rates close to 2 inches per hour just as many of the monsoon storms have been doing this summer.
Expect flash flood watches to cover many of the burn scars -- but 2 inches of rain in less than an hour can cause flash flooding anywhere. There are several watches in place for Friday, and they will likely be extended through Saturday and beyond.
So weekend travels beware. Road closures due to debris flows and rockslides are likely.
Friday will be similar to what we saw on Thursday. Scattered thunderstorms with heavy rainfall rates likely. Many of those small cells have managed to find the burn scars from last summer and that trend will likely continue.
They'll just have a high probability of getting hit on the weekend.
On Saturday, there will be high chances of rain starting early in the morning and lasting into the late evening hours on the Front Range and the mountains.
Sunday the heaviest rains will shift to the south, but there will still be high coverage throughout the state.
The Cameron Peak burn scar has the potential to get between 1 and 3 inches of rain by Sunday night. The US Forest Service has reopened 8 out of the 11 campsites in Poudre Canyon so campers need to be aware of this flood potential.
CDOT says they will have crews on standby to close Highway 14 immediately if a flash flood warning is issued.
The East Troublesome and Calwood burn areas will also have high flood potential.
And Glenwood Canyon through the Grizzly Creek burn scar will be subject to more lengthy closures this weekend.
The high rain potential also raises the probability of flash flooding in other areas like older burn scars, narrow canyons, dry stream beds, and any steep terrain.
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