The same storm that brought heavy rain, hail and gusty winds to Southern California over the weekend will spread severe thunderstorms and torrential downpours into the southwestern United States early this week.
A piece of energy swinging around the eastern side of the storm will first spark severe thunderstorms in the Front Range of the Rockies Monday.
“On Monday, severe thunderstorms will ignite in the late afternoon along the I-25 corridor and points east,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Brown.
The whole gamut of impacts, including damaging winds, large hail, flooding downpours and even a few tornadoes, can be felt from Las Vegas, New Mexico to Denver, Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Lamar, Colorado.
Residents with outdoor plans should be prepared to take shelter if threatening weather approaches and move vehicles, lawn furniture and any loose pieces of outdoor equipment inside a garage or other protected shelter, Brown added.
The storms also threaten to damage plants, tender vegetation and young crops beginning to emerge above ground.
“Motorists venturing across interstates 70 and 25 from northeastern New Mexico to western Kansas and the eastern half of Colorado should be alert for blinding downpours and strong cross winds,” Brown said.
Seeking shelter under a bridge or overpass can protect vehicles against potential damage from large hailstones. However, a motorist should never seek shelter under a bridge or overpass in the case of a potential tornado, as flying debris and dangerous winds can easily be amplified beneath these structures.
By Tuesday and Wednesday, the storm system will creep eastward and threaten to bring slow-moving showers and soaking thunderstorms to the Four Corners region.
Rounds of drenching downpours and gusty thunderstorms are set to target cities such as Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Albuquerque and Roswell, New Mexico; Denver and Colorado Springs; and Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas.
“Severe thunderstorms will again threaten the I-25 corridor on Tuesday night, but should expand eastward into the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles into Wednesday as an extra surge of energy and moisture is drawn northward by the storm,” Brown warned.
It will only take an inch or two of rain in a short amount of time to cause flash flooding in the deserts of the Southwest and throughout the southern Rockies.
Roadways affected by the flooding can quickly be washed out or rendered impassible. In the case of flooded roadways, it is always best to turn around and find an alternate route to avoid putting one’s life at risk.
Unseasonably cool air and gusty winds will accompany the unsettled weather in the Southwest early this week.
Temperatures may struggle to reach the lower 70s in Phoenix Tuesday after soaring above 100 F on several occasions during the past week.
In general, temperatures some 15-25 degrees Fahrenheit below average can be expected across the entire Four Corners region on Tuesday and Wednesday and can even promote a few inches of snow in the highest elevations of the Colorado Rockies.
By mid- to late week, the storm system should finally push into the central U.S., and allow warmer and drier conditions to return to the Southwest.