Colorado weather: Heavy rain, flooding possible during afternoon thunderstorms

Stormy weather continues across Colorado Friday after ping pong-ball sized hail, damaging winds and tornadoes peppered the state Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

Friday’s afternoon and evening thunderstorms will bring heavy rain and possible flash flooding, especially over alpine burn scars, according to NWS forecasters.

The risk of flash flooding is elevated in burn scars between 1 and 8 p.m. Friday — including those left by the Cameron Peak fire in Jackson and Larimer counties, the East Troublesome in Grand and Larimer counties and the Williams Fork fire in Grand County, NWS forecasters said.

In areas where fire burns hot or long enough, the soil develops a water-repellant layer that reacts like rain on pavement, weather officials said. Rainfall that would normally be absorbed by the forest canopy and loose tree litter on the ground instead runs off, starting flash floods during periods of heavy rain.

“If you can look uphill from where you are and see a burnt-out area, you are at risk,” NWS meteorologists said.

While the risk of flash floods is strongest in the mountains, the strongest storms are expected to hit Colorado’s Eastern Plains Friday afternoon, meteorologists said.

Storms are expected to start in the metro area around noon and move east, strengthening and reaching the plains around 3 p.m., NWS forecasters said.

The hail and wind that hit Thursday is not expected to return Friday, forecasters said.

According to NWS records, the largest hail reported Thursday was in Durango and nearly the size of a ping pong ball — 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Other areas in the mountains reported between mothball and quarter-sized hail — between half an inch and an inch in diameter.

Grand Junction reported heavy flooding, with 6 to 8 inches of water running down the streets and overflowing curbs, according to NWS extreme weather reports.

Over the plains, damaging winds of up to 60 mph knocked down powerlines and toppled fences, according to NWS reports. One tornado was spotted in Weld County’s Platteville.

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Despite heavy rain and storms Friday, eastern Colorado will see high temperatures around 90 degrees Friday, forecasters said. The metro area remains stuck in the high 80s, but temperatures are expected to climb back into the 90s Saturday and stay there for the foreseeable future.

A few weak thunderstorms will be possible over the weekend, largely over higher terrain, but much drier weather is expected for the Front Range and Eastern Plains, according to a NWS hazardous weather outlook.

Afternoon thunderstorms and rain showers are set to return to the metro area Tuesday, NWS forecasters said.

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