What monsoon season means for Utah
Jul 31, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: 2:09 pm
SALT LAKE CITY– The Southwestern U.S. monsoon season brings moisture and lightning to Utah, with mixed results for fires and flash floods.
Monsoon season in Utah affects fires
Just this weekend, a lightning strike sparked the Plataeu Fire in southern Utah, west of St. George.
#PlateauFire Update: Located west of St. George, the fire is currently at 238 acres with minimal smoke. Firefighters are on the ground, monitoring for potential flare-ups. The cause is natural – a lightning strike. Crews are making progress with containment now at 70%. #blmjjr
— Utah Fire Info (@UtahWildfire) July 30, 2023
The brush has remained very dry from summer’s intense heat, making good kindling for wildfires.
Christine Kruse from the National Weather Service said that’s not the full story.
“As far as the threat of large wildfires, it decreases when we have a monsoon surge,” says Kruse. “Our humidity goes up, there’s more moisture available. So we’re not seeing quite as dry conditions.”
The St. George News reported that the moisture has helped firefighters douse blazes in southern Utah.
Flash flood danger
Kruse added that the increased moisture caused by monsoon season brings another threat for recreators to Utah– flooding.
“Starting today, central and southern Utah will have a higher flash flood threat. You want to stay away from those slot canyons, those normally dry washes. Places that have a high flash flood threat.”
Monsoon season typically lasts from late June through September.
🌨️Monsoonal moisture will remain in place for the next several days. Here is how one hi-res model (HRRR) is depicting today’s storms will play out. These storms will be capable of producing flash flooding, especially across central and southern Utah this afternoon. #utwx #wywx pic.twitter.com/JSg2W55Rzo
— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) July 31, 2023
The Salt Lake City National Weather Service warned Monday we could see potential flash flooding in southern and central parts of Utah. Kruse said the heavy rains are typically seen during the afternoon and evening hours.
Kruse recommended first checking the forecast for the day if you are looking to go into national parks or to recreate outside.
“If there is a thunderstorm in the forecast, probably good to have a plan b and go do something else that.”
You can check for the day’s forecast and flash flood warnings for Utah parks through the National Weather Service website.
Carlos Artiles Fortun contributed to the reporting of this article
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