Flood watch

Parts of the eastern and central Interior are under a flood watch through Monday. From 2 to 6 inches of rain could fall, beginning this evening.

A string of strong thunderstorms with "frequent and dangerous lightning, locally torrential rainfall, hail, and strong winds," is expected to put an abrupt end to a sunny, hot day today.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch and special weather statement today. Storms are expected to form over the Fortymile area, White Mountains and eastern Alaska Range this afternoon.

"Expect conditions to deteriorate rapidly from the hot and mostly sunny afternoon conditions in the 80s," the statement says. People recreating outdoors are cautioned to be ready for the change.

Up to 6 inches of rain could fall over the Alaska Range and the Denali area, with 2 to 4 inches over the central Interior, including Minchumina, the Minto Flats and Tanana and possibly east to Fairbanks. Areas farther east will see from a half-inch to 2 inches.

The rain will be falling on ground already saturated from a wet summer and Interior rivers such as the Little Chena, Chena, Chatanika, Salcha and Goodpaster are expected to rise rapidly. A flood watch is in effect until Monday. Fairbanks may see some urban flooding, as well.

The Tanana River will begin rising early next week.

Mudslides and fast-rising streams may cause localized flash flooding in the Alaska Range, particularly in the Denali area.