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Wildfire and flood risks continue in western U.S. (forecast video)

Some areas of the western U.S. will be quite wet today and tonight, July 25, while others remain quite dry. Flash flooding and wildfires may be the results.

Fire and rain

Daytime heating and monsoonal moisture will result in more scattered thunderstorms across the Four Corners states and the Great Basin. Rain could be heavy enough at times to produce localized flash flooding in the Sierra Nevada, the Las Vegas metropolitan area, the I-25 corridor from Denver to Albuquerque and the I-40 corridor from Albuquerque to Flagstaff. Rainfall rates may approach two inches per hour, with rock slides and debris slides possible. Drivers may run into roadblocks and delays, especially on secondary roads. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the region.

There’s also a chance of flash flooding in parts of Florida due to thunderstorms developing along a stalled frontal boundary. The risk area includes the I-4, I-75 and I-95 corridors through Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Daytona Beach and West Palm Beach.

Meanwhile, there’s an elevated risk of wildfires in Montana, mainly north of I-90 where conditions are very dry, warm and breezy. Fires could spark easily and spread quickly. Smoke from fires that start west of Cut Bank, Great Falls and Bozeman will drift toward I-15, possibly reducing visibility. The NWS has issued a Red Flag Warning for the region. Also, crosswinds gusting to 40 mph from the west could make driving difficult for truckers deadheading on I-15.

SONAR Critical Events: Severe thunderstorms, flooding and wildfire risk areas for Thursday, July 25, 2019.

Midwest storminess

Severe thunderstorms could pop up in portions of the Dakotas and Minnesota today and tonight. Watch out for areas of large hail and very gusty winds on the I-29, I-35 and I-94 corridors through Grand Forks, Fargo, Aberdeen, International Falls and Duluth. Spots of flash flooding are possible, too.

Can you take the heat?

A heat wave begins today in California. Highs will reach 100° to 106° across the San Joaquin Valley, from Merced and Fresno to Hanford and Bakersfield. In areas northwest of Los Angeles – Black Mountain, San Marcos Pass, San Rafael Wilderness Area and Dick Smith Wilderness Area – highs will range from 95° to 105°. The NWS has issued a Heat Advisory for these areas. The extremely hot weather will likely spread northward toward Stockton, Sacramento and Redding this weekend. Drivers: pack plenty of extra ice and water, and be sure to take your breaks in air-conditioned spaces.

Have a great day, and please be careful out there!

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.