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Storms, Flooding Downpours Strike Southwest, Rockies

UPDATED 3:45 PM MDT, September 22, 2013

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen

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Even though the calendar is transitioning into autumn late this afternoon, there is no shortage of fresh thunderstorms peppering the Desert Southwest and Rocky Front Range. Not only will destructive winds be a problem, but large hail and an isolated tornado will be as well.

Severe Thunderstorm Watches stretch from eastern Utah and Arizona into central and eastern Colorado, including Gallup and Albuquerque, N.M., Alamosa, Pueblo and Colorado, Springs, Colo.

Powerful thunderstorms are rumbling across far eastern Arizona, western New Mexico, and across much of western and south-central Colorado this afternoon. A cold front and unusually strong upper-level low pressure system dividing warm and moisture-rich Pacific air from cooler and drier air sweeping over the Wasatch Range will continue to feed additional thunderstorm development into tonight.

The greatest severe weather concern will be destructive wind gusts climbing to near 80 mph, with a few thunderstorms also capable of packing hailstones exceeding golf balls and a few brief tornadoes.

Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., and Alamosa, Trinidad, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver, Colo., could all be impacted by a fresh thunderstorm this evening and tonight.

As if the severe weather wasn't enough, the thunderstorms will also trigger very heavy rainfall in a short time. One to 2 inches of rain will soak the ground, enticing a growing flash flooding threat.

Flash Flood Watches remain in place across eastern Utah and northeastern Arizona, as well as in western Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. Remember, if you approach a flooded roadway, or a storm drain has been clogged by debris from severe weather, it is best to, "Turn Around, Don't Drown."

Ping pong size hail and a wind gust clocked at 70 mph accompanied a powerful thunderstorm that raced through Redmesa, Colo., this afternoon, stripping leaves and snapping tree branches. A gust of 64 mph was measured near Klondyke, Ariz., while pin pong size hail also fell Dove Creek, Colo.

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