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Flood and Haboob Threat Returns to the Southwest

AccuWeather.com meteorologists were paying close attention to a dense cluster of showers and thunderstorms off the southern coast of Baja California on Wednesday.

As this system slowly becomes better organized, a plume of thick tropical moisture will stream northward across the region, and our meteorologists think this will once again invite the atmosphere to produce rounds of potentially flooding rain and dust storms across parts of the Southwest.

Whether or not this cluster of showers and thunderstorms becomes fully tropical over the next several days, it will manage to have a large impact across the region, including places such as Phoenix, Yuma, Las Vegas and Southern California, mainly east of San Diego.

These same areas were impacted by a similar plume of moisture late last week into the weekend and the early part of this week.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service in Las Vegas reported that a 77-year-old woman was swept away in her vehicle and killed as rapidly rising floodwaters overtook her car.

On Monday, powerful gusts of wind generated by thunderstorms around Phoenix spread outward, generating a huge dust storm that blasted though parts of the city well ahead of any rainfall.

In some places, wind gusts as high as 60 mph lofted dust 1,500-2,000 feet into the air. Residents said it looked like a wall of rusty sand rushing toward them. Inside the dust storm, visibility dropped to only a few feet, and driving was nearly impossible at times.

As the new tropical moisture plume works into the area from the Baja region late this week, dangerous, flooding rainfall and dust storms can be expected again on Thursday into Friday.

On the positive side, this moisture is welcome in the sense that much of the Southwest is still suffering from severe to extreme drought, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

On days when it isn't raining, the wildfire threat remains very high, and that will be the case even after this next plume of moisture passes.