Sunday, July 9, 2017

Spotty storms to bring little relief to baking southwestern US this week

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
July 9,2017, 3:53:59PM,EDT
While the Southwest monsoon has inched its way into the region, storms will be few and far between while stifling heat prevails.
Temperatures are predicted to continue to exceed the century mark as far north as Montana through the weekend, though some change is in store for the upcoming week.
“The heat will continue into Monday, but temperatures should fall slightly in the northern Rockies through the middle of the week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root said.
“However, temperatures are likely to remain above average across most of the Southwest during this time.”
West 1 July 9
"The one exception in the Southwest will be along the California coast where a stronger push of cooler air from the ocean will erase Saturday's record heat in Downtown Los Angeles early this week," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.
In Billings, Montana, afternoon temperatures will reach well into the 90s F again on Monday but will be held to a more seasonable high of around 86 F on Tuesday.
"As a cold front sweeps the heat away from the northern Rockies, severe thunderstorms will erupt across parts of Montana on Monday afternoon and evening," Pydynowski said.
"Damaging winds will be the main threats from the strongest thunderstorms, but some of the thunderstorms will also produce hail."
“This weak storm diving into the Northwest will likely bring an increase in moisture across the Southwest this week,” Root said. “This will result in showers and thunderstorms and an increase in clouds across the Four Corners region.”
For many, this pattern change could result in the first rainfall of the season, which started on July 1. In Needles, California, a storm Saturday night brought the area's first rainfall since May 10.
West 2 July 9

“This will help with the heat in some places, but will also bring the threat for downpours and flooding across parts of the Southwest,” Root warned.
While the storm in Needles helped temperatures drop swiftly out of the 110s, it also resulted in a sudden drop in visibility, localized flooding and gusty winds.
Residents and tourists will need to be on the lookout for these storms. Individuals should be prepared to pull over their vehicles or seek shelter at the first sign of threatening weather.
While brief storms could aid in wildfire relief, the overall pattern will continue to enable spreading fires.
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Dozens of fires are currently plaguing the western U.S., with a few threatening high-population areas.
Evacuations were necessary near Breckenridge, Colorado, last week and a pair of fires in Santa Barbara County, California, forced hundreds of people out of their homes and temporarily trapped summer camp children and counselors this weekend.
One of the fires in California, dubbed the "Whittier Fire," has rapidly charred nearly 8,000 acres since starting on Saturday. The blaze has destroyed 20 structures and threatens 150 others, according to an InciWeb press release. Containment is only at five percent.
The sky over the Emergency Op Center. Ash is falling at Cathedral Oaks near Turnpike.
Dry lightning strikes could continue to spark new fires across the region this week.
“Intense heat may build back across the West by the end of the week and weekend, which will make it tough for those battling wildfires across the area,” Root said.

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