West Valley including Goodyear, Glendale, Wickenburg to see storms

West Valley including Goodyear, Glendale, Wickenburg to see storms

Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop across the Phoenix metropolitan area, as well as in other parts of the state, according to the National Weather Service in Phoenix. 

On Wednesday morning, the weather service tweeted that there was a “fair chance,” between 30% and 50%, for thunderstorms starting in the afternoon in the lower deserts and Phoenix metro area.

“It actually may develop a little earlier than we typically see for the Phoenix area,” said Jaret Rogers, a meteorologist with the NWS in Phoenix. “We are expecting by mid-afternoon, we should start seeing showers and thunderstorms develop across some areas.” 

Rogers said the thunderstorms projected for the afternoon into the evening can impact any areas from Phoenix to Yuma, moving toward California. 

He said these thunderstorms can bring localized heavy rainfall, strong winds and blowing dust with typical monsoon-like characteristics. 

The national weather service issued a significant weather advisory for parts of Maricopa County until 4:30 p.m. As of 3:50 p.m., a severe thunderstorm was located near Goodyear, moving northwest with the potential for wind gusts up to 60 mph. 

Locations impacted include Glendale, Surprise, Avondale, Goodyear, Buckeye, Cashion, Litchfield Park, Perryville, Luke AFB, Liberty, Phoenix International Raceway, Estrella Mountain Park, Estrella Mountain Ranch and Rainbow Valley.

As of 4:20 p.m. it was near Wickenburg. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Wickenburg, which could see 70 mph wind gust, hail the size of nickels, and rain. 

“One thing that sticks out for today is that we have a lot of moisture in the air,” Rogers said, adding that the moisture levels are closer to record amounts. “That gives us more confidence that we’ll see storms to develop and when they do develop, there will be certainly the potential for heavy rainfall and heavy thunderstorms.”

Normally for July, the surface dew point is usually in the 50s but this fluctuates depending on the monsoon, Rogers said. As of Wednesday morning, the surface dew point was in the mid-60s. 

“We see it every monsoon but we’re in a period now where we certainly have a lot of moisture,” he said. 

Earlier in the month, Phoenix was projected to have “above-normal” precipitation in July, according to the National Weather Service. 

“The one-month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center now gives Phoenix a ~42% chance of above-normal precipitation for the month of July,” the weather service tweeted

Rogers said this month’s rainfall has varied across regions of the state. 

Storm chances will increase Thursday

As of Wednesday, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport reported less than half an inch of rain for the 2021 monsoon. Despite this, other parts of the state have received over an inch of rain, Rogers said. 

“It’s pretty typical where one area they get a lot of rain and another area not as much during this time of year,” he said. “More widespread rainfall will help most areas get to an above-normal precipitation amount for this time of year; we may actually get that Thursday into the weekend.”

According to the weather service, storm chances increase to 50 to 60% starting Thursday evening with the risk of flash flooding. 

A flash flood watch has been issued by the weather service for Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, as well as for most of central and eastern Arizona, including areas near Prescott and Mohave. The watch starts Thursday evening and continues into late Saturday evening. 

“We are expecting over a 48 hour period of pretty active weather with a higher threat of flash flooding,” Rogers said. 

In the Phoenix metro area, there has not been widespread or significant flash flooding. But, there have been other parts of the state that have experienced significant flood events, including Flagstaff and toward the Globe area. 

According to the Arizona Public Service outage map, approximately 3,086 customers in Flagstaff from the areas of Route 66 to Melissa Drive and Woody Mountain Road to Knoles Drive were experiencing outages on Wednesday afternoon due to an interruption to the main powerline. 

A flash flood watch indicates that conditions are “favorable” for floods but this does not mean that every area will experience them, Rogers said. 

With the potential for flash floods, Rogers advised to not drive in flooded roadways or washes. 

“Steer clear of even normally dry washes because those can fill with water really quickly,” he added. “Awareness is No. 1, certainly just practice safety if you are out on the roadways, don’t attempt to cross flooded roadways.” 

The threat for blowing dust and strong winds are also another conditions people need to take into account, particularly in areas west of Phoenix, Rogers said. 

If a widespread dust storm accumulates, a dust storm warning could be issued, marking that conditions are very dangerous. 

If you are driving and a dust storm starts, Rogers advised to pull over as far as possible to the side of the roadway, rather than try to drive slowly or stop where you are. 

Reach breaking news reporter Olivia Munson at [email protected] or on Twitter @munson_olivia. 

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