Temperatures to warm likely increase river levels and accelerate snowmelt

Published: May. 14, 2023 at 7:14 PM MDT
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River Levels:

Based on the latest update, river levels will slowly rise as this week progresses. Some will stay straight line while others will have a trend that will move into the action flood stage.

  • Gunnison River near Utah, Colorado Stateline

Levels will remain below the action stage of 12.5 feet leading up to Wednesday evening. It will reach the action flood stage on Thursday and Friday, with Saturday peaking at 13.44 feet. The flood stage at this location is 15 feet.

  • Gunnison River near Grand Junction

Temperatures will still rise as we get towards the middle of the week. It will push the Gunnison River near Grand Junction to the action stage as early as Monday evening. The trend is that it will keep rising as we get into the weekend, reaching levels around 12.53 feet. The action stage starts at 10 feet, with the flood stage at 13 feet.

  • Dolores River below McPhee Reservoir

River levels recorded Sunday afternoon have shifted towards the action stage of 7 feet. The river will hover just slightly below the action stage at 6.97 feet and stay around this height throughout the week.

  • Dolores River near Bedrock

River levels will remain flat-lined, staying below the action stage of 9.7 feet over the upcoming week. Instead, levels will remain around 9.46 feet with a flood stage of 11 feet.

  • Dolores River at Dolores

River levels at this location will remain below the action stage of 7 feet but can reach this stage around Thursday evening. After that, it will likely reach the minimal action stage, with flood staging beginning at 8 feet.

  • Dolores River below McPhee Reservoir

At this location is another flat line with the action stage at 7 feet. However, it may reach the action stage if the reservoir does increase in water. It will remain at a height of 6.97 feet this week. The flood stage will be 8 feet.

Our Next 24 hours:

Cloud cover will remain over the Western Slope, with another round of scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the day. For the valleys, the chances of rain to occur remain. However, in the overnight hours, most will lead to overcast skies as temperatures again fall into the lower 50s and upper 40s.

For Monday, we will continue to have the same weather maker as today, where again, the mountains will get the bulk of the rain and thunderstorms and even some snowfall happening in the San Juans. The chances of scattered showers in the valleys remain. Temperatures for our valleys will continue to rise but remain in the 70-degree range.

Upcoming Week:

Temperatures for Tuesday and Wednesday will rise to the lower 80s for Grand Junction and Montrose but remain in the upper 70s for Montrose. Chances for scattered showers decrease after Monday and increase again on Thursday evening and Friday.

For the mountains, again, we are looking at widespread scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the week but remain lower for Tuesday and Wednesday. Some light snowfall can occur for the San Juans but will not impact the Million Dollar Highway. The biggest concern throughout the week is the rising river levels, not due to the rain but the rising temperatures that will accelerate the snowmelt.