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Severe Weather Possible in the Desert Southwest Friday and Saturday

26 Sep 2014, 12:19 pm

regional view

Severe weather, including the chance for a few isolated tornadoes, is possible in parts of the Desert Southwest. Believe it or not, a city know for dry air and hot weather — Las Vegas — is also included in the chance for severe weather, Friday afternoon into Saturday morning.

What’s causing this potential severe weather? Well, it’s a bit of a complex setup, but here’s what we know:


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A high pressure situated east of the Rockies will work in conjunction with a low pressure entering the western part of the U.S.; the placement of these two meteorological features will help to draw in moisture from the tropics.

This moisture, coupled with a deepening low and upslope flow, will be more than enough to fire off showers and thunderstorms by early Friday afternoon. These storms will mainly be driven by the heat of the day and could produce locally heavy rains, damaging winds and some hail.

Once the sun sets, these storms will begin to wan as the heat of the day is lost. But, as the evening moves into the overnight hours, an uptick in storm coverage is expected. Storms that develop in this time period have the potential to be stronger than the ones that develop Friday afternoon. As the low intensifies and sifts east, ingredients for supercells and bow echos could come together. That said, the main threat will be big hail and damaging winds, but an isolated tornado can’t be completely ruled out.

So if you live in southern Nevada, northwestern Arizona or southwestern Utah, stay weather aware through Friday night.


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The upper-level low will continue to propagate eastward on Saturday, shifting the threat of severe weather just a bit further east — into northern, central and southern Arizona. Even though storms will be ongoing early Saturday morning, which can help to diminish the severe threat, abundant moisture and ample low-level shear will aid in the development of at least a few rotating thunderstorms in the afternoon.

This means hail, high winds and even a few isolated tornadoes will be possible. So, if you live in Phoenix or Flagstaff, stay weather aware throughout the day. In addition to the threat of isolated tornadoes and high winds, locally heavy amounts of rain could fall in the normally arid region. The influx of rain could cause flash flooding, so be aware of that as well.

WeatherNation meteorologists will be keeping an eye on the situation and being you updates as warranted.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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