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416 Fire zone near Durango under flash flood warning

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FARMINGTON — The water year, which ended Sunday, was the driest on record in the Farmington area, according to Royce Fontenot, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

While the Four Corners area did not see the monsoon moisture that it saw in 2002, the National Weather Service is hopeful that remnants of Tropical Storm Rosa will improve the drought conditions as it moves through Tuesday.

The rainy forecast also caused a flash flood warning in the zone around the 416 Fire, which burned for more than a month this summer near Durango, Colorado.

The monsoon season officially ended Sunday. Farmington received less than 2 inches of precipitation during the season, which stretches from June 15 until Sept. 30. The Farmington area was 32 percent below normal in precipitation, according to the National Weather Service.

MORE: Tropical Storm Rosa brings flood threat to 12 million people in the Southwest

Fontenot provided the information today during a weekly weather briefing.

Animas River reduced to a trickle

The water year lasts from Oct. 1 until Sept. 30 each year. Fontenot said this water year closely mirrored the 2001-2002 water year. He said a four-day wet period in early September 2002 brought two to five inches of rain to the Farmington area and helped improve the drought conditions.

The drought has reduced the Animas River to a trickle this summer. A U.S. Geological Survey gauge on the Animas River near San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington registered 6.62 cubic feet per second on Monday while a gauge upstream near Cedar Hill registered 72 cubic feet per second.

Fontenot predicted that the Animas River will rise more than five feet by Wednesday afternoon as the remnants of Tropical Storm Rosa move through the Four Corners region.

While the river levels will likely rise, the National Weather Service in Albuquerque is not anticipating widespread flooding in the Farmington area.

The National Weather Service anticipates that the Four Corners region could see between half an inch and an inch of precipitation Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Flash flood warning in 416 fire zone

There could be flooding in southwest Colorado due to the storm, especially in the area burned by the 416 Fire earlier this year.

More: Four Corners Business Briefs: SBA offers 416 fire recovery loans to affected businesses

The National Weather Service’s office in Grand Junction, Colorado, is predicting up to two inches of rain.  The office has issued a flash flood warning that will be in effect starting at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

The warning states that the area will likely see long, soaking rain instead of brief, heavy rainfalls. However, the burn scars are prone to flash flooding even with minimal amounts of precipitation, the National Weather Service cautions.

While the remnants of the tropical storm are anticipated to leave the Four Corners region by Wednesday afternoon, more storm systems are on the horizon that will bring cooler temperatures and more moisture.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

MORE: Tropical Storm Rosa reminds Arizona of its history of jaw-dropping flash flood

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Tropical Storm Rosa diminished from a Pacific hurricane over the weekend but could still be dangerous. Wochit

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