Warmer temperatures increase snowmelt flooding concerns

Zack Webster's KJCT First Alert Weather - 5/1
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 11:36 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - High pressure keeps us sunny and warm to start the new work week. Flooding concerns due to snowmelt will continue to increase through the middle of the week.

Next 24 Hours

Sunny to mostly sunny skies continue through lunch time, then we’ll start to see a bit more of an increase in clouds across the region through the rest of the afternoon. While we should stay dry in the valleys, showers, some rumbles of thunder, and maybe a few highest-elevation snowflakes will be possible over the higher elevations mostly south of Interstate 70 and east of Highway 50 and 550. It will be another very warm day for many of us, with highs reaching the upper 70s and lower to middle 80s. Any rain this afternoon will dissipate pretty quickly this evening as it heads for the Continental Divide, but partly to mostly cloudy skies will remain draped over the region tonight with lows in the upper 40s and lower 50s. Increased moisture streams over the region into Tuesday morning, and that could start some early-morning showers over the higher elevations. Scattered rain, some rumbles of thunder, and some higher elevation snow will be possible at times through much of the day on Tuesday. That will turn us cooler with highs in the lower to middle 70s.

Snowmelt Flooding Concerns

Temperatures in the 70s and 80s through this past weekend and into early this week is once again causing rapid melting of snowpack around the Western Slope, and we’re once again seeing some flooding issues beginning to crop up. A Flood Warning is already in effect for the Dolores River, including Highway 141 and the town of Gateway. Flooding is already happening along portions of the Dolores River. A Flood Advisory is in effect for portions of the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers, including the towns of Naturita, Bedrock, Slick Rock, and Uravan. Minor flooding of the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers is possible in these areas. A Flood Watch is in effect for the northern portions of the region, north of Interstate 70 along the Yampa River, and includes the towns of Rangely, Craig, Hayden, Meeker, Steamboat Springs, among others. This also includes Highway 40 from the Utah state line through Steamboat Springs. Additional flooding concerns could be possible through the middle of the week along the Mancos River, including the town of Mancos.

Cloudy and Unsettled Rest of the Week

We’ll turn drier and a little warmer again across the region on Wednesday, then another round of mostly rain with some higher elevation snow is possible mostly from Thursday afternoon to early Friday morning. Some of that cloudy and potentially unsettled weather continues into the weekend as well. We’re watching Saturday for another potential increase in rain chances before we start turning drier again into Sunday. Temperatures also turn much cooler through the end of the week and into the weekend. We’re back down into the middle to upper 60s and lower 70s starting on Thursday and continuing through Sunday.