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Flash flood watch issued for SW Colorado, SE Utah

Heavy rains caused mud and debris slides onto Colorado Highway 145 Saturday in the Saw Pit area. The highway was cleared and has been reopened, (Courtesy San Miguel County Sheriff)
Heavy rains expected in San Juan mountains

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the mountains of Southwest Colorado and southeast Utah from noon to 10 p.m. today.

The watch includes the San Juan Mountain areas of northeast Montezuma County and northern La Plata County. Mountain regions in southeast Utah are also included.

Heavy rains are forecast for the area as a disturbance is moving across the region and will add to monsoonal moisture entrenched across much of the Western Slope and eastern Utah, according to the National Weather Service.

“There is abnormally high moisture content in the area, and the monsoonal plume is draped over our area,” said Erin Walter, National Weather Service meteorologist, on Monday. “The added disturbance will enhance thunderstorms, and heavy rain is expected.”

Target areas include the northwestern and southwestern San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Plateau, Dallas Divide, West Elk and Sawatch Mountains.

A flash flood watch has been issued for Southwest Colorado and southeast Utah until 10 p.m. Monday. (National Weather Service)

The area northeast of Dolores has had consistent rain, and that is expected to continue today with the potential for heavy downfalls, Walter said.

Wildfire burn scars will be especially susceptible to heavy rainfall leading to quick runoff responses with debris and mud flows likely.

Locally, the East Canyon burn scar near Mancos and 416 Fire burn scar in the Animas Valley are listed as areas for potential debris flows from heavy rains.

The monsoonal pattern is expected to shift away from Southwest Colorado by midweek, Walter said. A shifting high pressure will create a dry northwest flow over the area and push the monsoonal moisture away from the area.

On Tuesday, there is a 30% chance of rain in Cortez, and Wednesday and Thursday are sunny with no rain in the forecast.