Boulder County under flash flood watch; lightning strikes apartment

A storm struck Boulder County on Friday afternoon, flooded streets, dropped heavy localized hail and was accompanied by lightning, which struck a Gunbarrel apartment complex and started a fire.

The National Weather Service put much of the eastern part of the county under a flash flood warning for about 90 minutes, and the county remains under a flash flood watch until midnight Saturday as more rain — some of it heavy — is expected along the Front Range and eastern plains.

NWS Meteorologist Kyle Fredin said that 1-inch hailstones were reported in south Boulder and nearly 3 inches of rain fell in the northeastern part of the city, causing flooding in some streets on Friday afternoon.

Fredin said that on Saturday, conditions exist — moisture and instability in the atmosphere — that could cause flooding should storms become slow moving.

“We have showers and thunderstorms likely for tomorrow,” he said. “They could contain heavy rainfall.”

Friday‘s storms stranded cars in flooded streets and sparked a fire in an attic atop a multistory Gunbarrel apartment complex. Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Aulabaugh said firefighters, with the help of hail and rain, were able to get the fire out quickly.

Local meteorologist Matt Kelsch wrote on his blog on Friday that parts of the Front Range are “in for a lot of rain today and Saturday, with wet snow above the treeline.”

Kelsch said soaking rain is likely on Saturday, but it won‘t necessarily be heavy in all areas and more likely will be north of Denver, with additional heavy rains in Weld County, eastern Larimer County and southeastern Wyoming.

He wrote that a risk for heavy rains exists in the Denver and Boulder County areas.

“Watch out for localized street flooding and the potential for creeks to spread out of their channels in some places,” he wrote. “The Saturday morning Farmers Markets may be in for the second wet Saturday in a row.”