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Fox News Weather Center

Monsoonal moisture to spur flooding, travel delays across western US next week

As monsoon thunderstorms return to the interior West, the threat for flooding and travel delays will increase next week.

The same area of high pressure that will bake the central United States with triple-digit heat is forecast to pump a stream of moisture into part of the Western states.

The influx of moisture will allow daily storms to impact portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for the remainder of July.

"Cities that could be hit by multiple storms in the coming weeks include Provo, Utah; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Rawlins, Wyoming; Denver and Phoenix," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"Storms will likely initiate over the higher terrain during the afternoon and slowly move over valley locations," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Michael Doll.

The storms will be preceded by mainly dry and sunny mornings.

The bulk of the stormy weather is expected to miss drought-stricken California.

As is typical during monsoon season, the weather can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Storms can produce drenching downpours in some areas, with little to no rainfall in others.

While the return of the monsoon will bring temporary relief to depleted reservoirs and dry vegetation, it could also bring hazardous conditions for residents and visitors of the region.

"The biggest threat to lives and property with thunderstorms during the Southwest monsoon is flash flooding," Doll explained.

"It doesn't have to rain at your location for flash flooding to occur," Doll said. "Distant storms over higher terrain can send water flowing downhill miles away through normally dry washes."

Travelers through the region may face reduced visibility due to heavy rain and/or dust kicked up by thunderstorm winds.

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Portions of interstates 10, 25, 40, 70 and 80 could be affected by slower travel for a time over the coming weeks.

Campers and hikers will want to pay close attention to their surroundings to avoid being caught off guard by a thunderstorm. Three people have died from lightning strikes in the past week alone, according to the National Weather Service.

Lightning-induced wildfires will also remain a concern over the next few weeks, Doll added, especially from storms that produce little to no rainfall.