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Denver weather: Monsoonal flow brings threat of flooding to Colorado this week

Cooler weather with more rain this week for Denver metro
Posted: 3:05 PM, Jul 30, 2023
Updated: 2023-07-31 12:10:53-04
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Air Quality Warnings for Monday
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DENVER — After a fairly dry spell compared to what felt like an unending stretch of stormy weeks earlier this summer, Denver’s forecast is calling for a return to a more widespread wet weather pattern coming up this week.

And you can thank Colorado’s typical monsoon weather pattern for it.

An upper-level high is expected to move east into Oklahoma and Texas drawing in a southerly monsoonal flow into Colorado, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.

In its Sunday afternoon update, the NWS said confidence is building that widespread storms will form bringing areas of heavy rain starting as early as Monday through Wednesday with the most active period being midweek.

Monday will welcome the week’s rainy pattern with more storms forming in the mountains by late afternoon, the NWS said.

Locally heavy rain is possible but there is only a slight threat of an isolated severe thunderstorm.

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For the Denver metro area, a storm is possible in the afternoon hours on Monday. The threat of flooding will increase starting Monday in Colorado’s burn scar areas. There's an elevated threat of flash flooding in the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome burn scar areas beginning Monday.

The moisture really picks up Tuesday into Wednesday bringing the highest chances of widespread storms and flooding, the NWS said. "Copious and quite anomalous moisture will persist through at least Wednesday."

Storm movements are expected to be “relatively” slow, according to the NWS, creating an environment where storms have a higher chance of organizing and spreading east across the plains potentially dropping 2” to 3” of rain in localized areas.

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The flash flooding risk increases Tuesday and Wednesday for storms that form across all elevations and scattered storms are again expected into Thursday. While still several days out for a definitive timeline, the NWS said heavy rain could still be possible Thursday through the weekend.

Along with the return to rain, a cooling trend will settle in across Colorado this week. Afternoon high temperatures will drop to the mid to low 80s by the end of the week.

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So, about that monsoon season in Colorado

The word monsoon refers to the seasonal shift in the wind direction.

In Colorado, that leads to stormy weather in the months of July and August. We get an area of low pressure over the Desert Southwest that draws up moisture from the Pacific Ocean. In addition to that, a ridge of high pressure to the east pulls in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

"Some hail, primarily heavy rain flash flood and definitely lots of cloud to ground lightning strikes occur when the monsoon season gets going," Greg Heavener, a Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boulder, said.


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He also said our summer monsoon produces our most active lightning season. That is due to the amount of moisture, the amount of lift and how slowly storms tend to move.

Heavener said this year, we can expect a later start to the season, and just how much rain we'll see is hard to forecast. One thing is for sure: Heavener said monsoon season is on its way, and any additional rainfall we get could cause high water levels and issues with some of our streams and creeks which could lead to flash flooding.

Continue reading this article from Denver7's Steve Roldan

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