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Flash-flood warning issued for 416 Fire burn areas

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Thursday, July 5, 2018 10:08 PM
Marge Morris protects herself from a rain shower Thursday afternoon on Main Avenue. The National Weather Service says there is the potential for heavy rain Friday over the area burned by the 416 Fire.

A flash-flood warning has been issued for Friday for areas around the burn scar of the 416 Fire.

According to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, the potential for flash floods in northwest La Plata County will be in effect from Friday afternoon to Friday evening.

During that time, heavy rainfall is expected in areas that have been burned by the 416 Fire, which may result in flash flooding and debris flow.

“Residents near this wildfire and along the Highway 550 corridor near Hermosa should prepare for potential flooding impacts,” the NWS said.

Burned areas are particularly at risk to flooding and debris flow because damaged soil no longer has the ability to absorb rain.

“The tricky thing with this weather pattern is that storms aren’t going to move a lot, so wherever they do develop, those locations could get very heavy rain in a short amount of time,” said Julie Malingowski, a meteorologist with NWS. “So our ears are definitely perked up for this situation.”

Afternoon storms move into the Durango area on Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued a flash-flood warning for the 416 Fire burn area from Friday afternoon to Friday evening.
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

The chance for rainfall continues until at least next Thursday, according to the NWS. The chance of precipitation is not a result of the arrival of the monsoon. Instead, it’s moisture from a subtropical storm in the Pacific Ocean that’s trapped underneath a high pressure system, Malingowski said.

“And that moisture is coming right to the Four Corners ... particularly in higher terrain,” she said.

jromeo@durangoherald.com

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