“The stage is set for southern Arizona and New Mexico to potentially receive prolific rainfall and widespread flash flooding today,” as a low-pressure system brings moist tropical air to the south west in the form of heavy rain and thunderstorms to add to the already active monsoon season across the region, the Weather Forecast Center announced early Saturday morning.
Widespread rainfall totals of 2 to 3 inches, with locally higher totals of 5 to 7 inches, are forecast across the region, leading the WPC to issue a 3 out of 4 level of “moderate” risk of excessive precipitation. before the wet forecast. This could mean widespread flash flooding in the southwest.
Rangers were alerted Friday afternoon that hikers had been “swept away” near the Sinawava Temple, according to Zion National Park spokesman Jonathan Shafer. Some hikers have been located.
“Park rangers found an injured hiker who had been dragged several hundred yards downstream,” Shafer said. The injured hiker was taken to hospital, according to Shafer. The hiker’s condition is unknown.
The flash flood at Zion National Park is associated with rain from the same system affecting the southwest this weekend.
“Urban areas in addition to areas of complex terrain, slot canyons, arroyos and burn scars are particularly vulnerable to flash floods and can quickly turn into very dangerous situations,” the WPC said on Saturday.
The plume of moisture and heavy rain is expected to move into northern Texas from Sunday through Monday – where a Level 2 out of 4 “slight hazard” for excessive precipitation has been issued. Rainfall near 2 to 3 inches per hour is possible, according to the WPC.
“Urban areas will be most vulnerable to flooding for the period, even with extremely dry drought conditions.”
More than 90% of the state of Texas is currently experiencing drought conditions, with nearly 62% experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions – the highest categories.
Potential tropical cyclone four to bring heavy rain
The hurricane center uses the potential tropical cyclone designation to issue warnings for a system before it is actually named.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Gulf Coast from Boca de Catan north to the mouth of the Rio Grande – and on the lower Texas coast from Port Mansfield south to the mouth of the Rio Grande. Tropical storm conditions are expected in these regions over the next 12 to 24 hours as the system approaches the coast.
The system is expected to reach the coast of northeastern Mexico late Saturday afternoon, pushing inland through Sunday.
It remains unclear if the system will strengthen enough to become a named storm before it makes landfall. If so, his name will be Danielle.
An 11 a.m. National Hurricane Center advisory said “risks of disruption [Potential Tropical Cyclone Four] to become a tropical cyclone appear to be diminishing.” The storm is located near the coast and may not have enough time to strengthen before moving inland.
PTC Four still remains disorganized over the Gulf of Mexico and has no defined center at or near the surface, according to recent data from Air Force Hurricane Hunters.
Still, heavy rains of 1 to 3 inches, with isolated totals of up to 5 inches, are forecast for parts of Texas and Mexico over the next 48 hours – which could lead to localized areas of flash flooding. .
“Regardless of the state of the system, the overall impacts are expected to be the same,” the NHC said. “Tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain are expected to move into northeastern Mexico and southern Texas later today and continue through Sunday.”
The system is expected to weaken rapidly after moving inland and eventually dissipate by Sunday evening in southern Texas.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Rebekah Riess, Paradise Afshar contributed to this report.