There’s potential for flash flooding in some parts of the western U.S., wildfires in other areas. Meanwhile, two hurricanes are moving toward Hawaii.
“Tale of Two Cities” kind of situation in the West
Monsoonal moisture maintains its flow across the Desert Southwest, the Great Basin and the Rockies. Rain will be quick and heavy at times, leading to localized flash flooding in portions of Arizona, Utah and western Colorado. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Flash Flood Watch for some areas. Isolated severe storms could pop up, too, producing large hail and damaging winds.
Heavy rain and some spots of flash flooding are also possible from Houston, Texas to Lafayette, Louisiana, and from Omaha, Nebraska to Kansas City as a frontal boundary becomes stationary near these areas.
While some portions of the West get drenched, others are desperate for rain. Some lanes of I-5 remain closed in southwestern Oregon due to the Milepost 97 wildfire which started almost a week ago. Although the fire has been spreading parallel to the highway, some smoke may blow across the road at times, reducing visibility. Drivers should expect congestion and delays on I-5 through the Canyonville area, which is about 45 miles north of Medford. The fire is now more than 12,000 acres in size and is only 25 percent contained.
A Red Flag Warning is in place across southwestern Montana. Lightning from wet and dry thunderstorms could spark new fires in this area, and erratic outflow winds from the storms could spread fires quickly.
An approaching cold front will trigger thunderstorms and periods of heavy rain across the Northeast today and tonight. Some storms could be severe, containing large hail and gusty winds along the I-95 corridor, especially from Washington, D.C. to New York City. However, a few severe storms could hit as far south as Virginia Beach and as far north as Maine.
Hurricane Erick is now a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 125 mph. Erick is centered about 700 miles southeast of Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii. The storm is currently forecast to move just south of the big island late tonight/early Friday, Hawaii time. It will probably weaken back to a Category 1 hurricane or a tropical storm by then. However, high surf, heavy rain and gusty winds are possible, especially on the big island’s southern and eastern coasts.
Right behind Erick is Hurricane Flossie, with winds of 80 mph as of this morning. Flossie may hit the big island of Hawaii directly next week, but until then it’s only a concern for ocean freighters.
Have a great day, everyone, and be careful out there!