Monsoonal thunderstorms will continue to soak parts of the Desert Southwest through the weekend. This will help chip away at the drought, but the rain could be too much at once in some spots on any given day.

Storms will be scattered Wednesday, becoming more widespread late this week and into the weekend as a more organized weather system impacts the region. Storms will be capable of producing locally heavy rain, strong winds and blowing dust.

Intense rain rates and prolonged rainfall, combined with saturated ground in many places, will be capable of producing flash flooding of washes, small streams and poor drainage areas. Flash flooding may also lead to river rises. Past and recent burn scars will be especially prone to flash flooding and debris flows.

The National Weather Service has issued flash flood watches for the Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, metropolitan areas, as well as southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The watches run from Thursday through Saturday, but the NWS may adjust this time frame if necessary.

Some of the latest forecast models show the potential for up to 5 inches of total rain through the weekend in some locations, but most or all of it could fall in just one day. Drivers should be prepared for possible ramp and road closures on Interstates 10 and 40, in addition to many U.S. routes such as Highway 550, known as The Million Dollar Highway.

Heavy rain could also hit parts of the South over the next few days, but flash flooding should be much more localized than in the Southwest. The majority of the worst downpours will probably remain along and south of Interstate 20.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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