Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fire And Rain: Trouble Spots Brewing In U.S. Weather

Cars stranded by floodwaters in Brooklyn Park,
Minnesota. Photo from Maury Glover of
Fox 9 News.  
As we get more and more into autumn, the type of bad weather turns away from the summer pattern of localized roughness to more widespread problems that crop up periodically.

That's going on now.

There are a few areas in the nation that are now having some real weather trouble. The hot spots:

1. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa: Repeated heavy rounds of torrential rain were sweeping this area early Thursday.

This has been going on for a day or two there. Flash flood and flood warnings are widespread because up to 10 inches of rain has already fallen.

In Maple Grove, Iowa, 3.5 inches of rain poured down in just an hour, says Minnesota Public Radio

Many roads are closed, cars are stranded and houses flooded. Things should start to taper off later today and tomorrow in this region.

2. Southern California: It's been a bad fire season in California and it looks like it might be about to become worse. In the autumn, you tend to get bouts of strong winds and very low humidities coming off the deserts into California and that's happening now.

Widespread red flag warnings and critical fire danger alerts are up for much of southern and central California and southern Nevada. These kinds of conditions will go on for several days.

That's especially bad news. More often than not the very critical fire weather only lasts a day or two, so firefighters typically start getting the upper hand on wild fires after three days or so. This time, things might continue to escalate through the weekend if fires do break out.

3. Intermountain West. Meanwhile, a little to the east of the fire danger zone, the problem is too much water, again. Moisture from what once was Hurricane Paine off the northwest Mexican coast is streaming in. This will set off lots of showers and heavy thunderstorms. People are being warned to stay out of canyons, dry washes and low lying areas. 

Those flash floods can really come seemingly out of nowhere. Hikers beware!

There are also some high wind warnings in the Rockies as well as a strong cold front will get winds gusting to 60 mph in some places.

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