Flash flood warning issued for 416 burn scar

Sunday, July 15, 2018 4:38 PM
Hot, dry weather is expected to return to Southwest Colorado beginning Wednesday, but on Sunday, clouds built up north of Durango. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the 416 Fire burn area, but it expired with no reports of flooding or debris flow.

Rain remains in the forecast through Wednesday for Southwest Colorado, but after mid-week, expect hot, dry weather to return to Southwest Colorado.

Megan Stackhouse, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Grand Junction, said Sunday was likely to have the strongest chance of rain this week.

A good chance of rain remains in the forecast on Monday and Tuesday, but a drying trend is expected to begin Wednesday and later in the week, she said.

Wednesday through Friday could see a return of hot, dry weather, with highs in Durango in the low 90s, Stackhouse said.

A flash flood warning was issued by the National Weather Service for the burn scar of the 416 Fire on Sunday. A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. It expired Sunday afternoon with no reports of flooding or debris flow.

A flash flood watch remained in effect in Southwest Colorado through midnight Sunday, meaning conditions are ripe for flooding to occur in flood-prone areas because of heavy rains.

Ben Moyer, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the debris flow could be in such a remote area of the burn area that no one would witness it.

During a flash flood warning, the weather service asks anyone in the area covered by the warning to move to higher ground immediately, and residents living along nearby streams and creeks should take precautions to protect life and property.

The weather service has worked with emergency management in La Plata County in making an estimation that a quarter of an inch to a half inch of rain in the 416 burn scar area would cause debris flow.

“If the rain is heavy enough, it could make its way down Hermosa Creek to (U.S. Highway) 550,” Moyer said.