Mountain rain chances continue, valleys could join in

Zack Webster's KJCT First Alert Weather - 5/18
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 11:45 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Increased moisture will bring more showers and thunderstorms to the Western Slope through the rest of the week. The best rain chances will stay in the mountains, but rain chances down in the valleys could come up a little bit as well.

Scattered Showers and Storms

Our Thursday morning started off a bit differently than the last several mornings this week with mostly cloudy to cloudy skies and some light to moderate rain coming down in most locations. That first wave continues to push toward the Continental Divide into the early afternoon, then we’ll start watching the northwest corner of the region for the second round of showers and a few thunderstorms. Similar to the last several days, the best rain chances will stay over the higher terrain, but the increased coverage of those showers and storms will cause rain chances to increase some in the valleys too. Scattered showers and storms will mostly favor locations along and south of Interstate 70 on Friday, then it looks like our best chances of seeing scattered to widespread showers and thunderstorms across the region will be on Saturday. Small chances of scattered showers and storms continue each afternoon through Tuesday.

River Updates

River levels continue to rise across the Western Slope as the week progresses. Flooding conditions continue through the weekend and even into early next week. Most rivers are now not expected to crest until next week.

The Colorado River near the CO-UT state line is at 12.82 feet Thursday morning. It is expected to continue to oscillate above the 12.5-foot action stage through the weekend and into the opening half of next week. A peak of 13.69 feet is expected late Tuesday morning.

  • 6 feet: Some lowland and meadow flooding is possible near Fruita
  • 10 feet: Water will approach sections of I-70 near Fruita
  • 12 feet: Considerable agricultural flooding is likely between the Redlands and Fruita
  • 14 feet: Flooding is likely in the Redlands

The Gunnison River near Grand Junction - just south of town - is at 11.83 feet Thursday morning, already at its action stage where minor flooding starts to occur. It is forecast to increase to almost 12.5 feet on Sunday night.

  • 7 feet: Water inundates sections of the river walk near Redlands Dam
  • 8.6 feet: Water reaches the top of the left bank of the west side of the Hwy 141 Bridge, and water begins to fill the gravel quarry upstream from the bridge.
  • 9 feet: Lowland flooding near the Redlands Dam is likely, including some low-lying agricultural land.
  • 10 feet: Considerable agricultural flooding is likely between Whitewater and Orchard Mesa and water flows into the quarry downstream of the Hwy 141 Bridge
  • 11 feet: Water nears the bottom of the Hwy 141 Bridge and it reaches the base of the bridge near Redlands Dam.
  • 13 feet: Residential flooding begins near Redlands Dam

The Gunnison River at Delta is at 9.12 feet on Thursday morning. It is expected to reach its 9.4-foot action stage on Friday afternoon and continue to oscillate above and below that mark for the next several days. A crest is expected at 9.82 feet on Monday afternoon.

  • 8 feet: Minor lowland flooding is likely along the banks of the Gunnison River in the vicinity of Delta.
  • 9.45 feet: Flooding of low-lying agricultural land possible upstream of Delta
  • 10 feet: Water reaches the base of the berms in the Four Seasons River Inn RV Park and Riverwood Mobile Home Park. Water nears the top of the berm separating Confluence Park from the Gunnison River. The right bank across from Confluence Park floods
  • 10.5 feet: the river gage site is flooded
  • 11 feet: Flooding of low-lying agricultural land begins; portions of Confluence Park near the river are flooded. Some hiking trails near the confluence with the Uncompahgre River are covered by water.

The Dolores River near Bedrock is holding steady near its 9.7-foot action stage. If the dam upstream at McPhee Reservoir has to be opened to increase flow into the river, a sudden spike in the water level is more likely downstream near Bedrock.

Plateau Creek near Cameo could cause minor flooding near the river banks. The forecast brings the river up to 8.17 feet, just inside minor flood stage, early Tuesday morning. Some homes could be in danger of flooding this weekend.

Next 24 Hours

The first round of rain moves out late this morning and into the early afternoon, and we’ll see partly to mostly cloudy skies through most of the rest of the afternoon with chances for scattered showers and thunderstorms and highs in the middle to upper 70s and lower 80s. Most of the rain should once again stay in the higher terrain, but chances to see some rain down in the valleys will be slightly increased compared to previous days. Rain ends and skies clear back out this evening with lows in the middle to upper 40s and lower 50s. Friday could be a slightly drier day in Grand Junction with partly cloudy skies, but Delta, Montrose, and Cortez could see some better rain chances Friday afternoon with highs in the middle and upper 70s to lower 80s.